This entry is part 4 of 29 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Winter 2012-13


1620s, from Fr. feston, from It. festone; a festive ornament, apparently from festa, celebration, feast

Every day, the neighborhood and its routines with only slight variations: the man who works for the newspaper brings his only daughter to the corner to wait for the school bus, then gets into his white Jeep and drives away. There are not many young children her age around here, but that might change in a few years. The music professor who lives in the last brownstone on the row walks a dog, a golden retriever, around the triangle and back. This dog is a loaner; it is not the same dog who was his longtime friend and companion but had been given or sold— I forget— to a different family on this street. This dog, the one he loved the best, returned to him when the daughter married and moved away; it wanted to die in its old home. He is stooped and walks more slowly now, but he still gives private lessons to college students. He inclines his head thoughtfully in a way that suggests he is always listening for music. Each New Year day, the couple in the middle of the row open their home and hold a potluck. Everyone was surprised to learn they had just gotten married last Saturday, after 29 years together. Week before Christmas, the woman who lives with her husband on a boat docked in the river was trying to put up Christmas lights. She was on a tall ladder, up near the mast; wild current coursed through wire and her tiny frame. She says, she could not unclench her lips even to scream. It was early twilight, no one was about. By some miracle or weakened pulse in the circuit, she broke free, threw herself off and into the water. We are near the coast, not too far inland. Otherwise there might have been fresh snow, branches laid over with crystalline webs obviating any need for lights.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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