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December

Too cheap

to buy the warmth

of the real

deal, our avoidance

of all things

Costco, the

shove from covetous

crowds,


we watch the Fireplace

Channel, the crackling

of logs eternal,

a stoke that births

forever—


wood that’s

never totally

consumed,


despite the encroachment

of a cancerous

black, the threat

a greyish ash

will sit supreme,

that there’s nothing

left to see

but the sweep

of soot & cinders;


the smothering

of wayward

sparks

that would otherwise

start a blaze—

had we a Christmas

card nearby,

bestowing to us

the blessings

of Bethlehem:

“May the wonder

of Baby Jesus

dwell within you

through the year.”

After an hour

we are bored,

that the security

which is offered


precludes

all the drama of

life, its incessant

need to struggle,

clawing its way

to the top.


You press a button

on the remote,

moving us

a channel ahead:


the calm of

aquarium,


knowing we’ll never

see the food chain

underwater,

the enormity

of a gulp

that swiftly kills,


that the scenes

of belly-up—


have long been

censored

from our gaze,


that all these

gentle fish

are now in heaven,

having died

off years ago,


swimming

amid the screen

of our TV,

the one we got

on sale

at Canadian

Tire, its boast of

Elysian Fields,


that if you flip

between the news

between the carnage,

you’ll find peace

an endless circle,

the splash of

flame and sea,

that sand and breeze

await you,


there, in the tip

of your own

finger, in the twinkling

of an eye

we thought was a

pitch, from the salesman

cursing customers

beneath his breath.




Andreas Gripp

November 26, 2023


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