Silent Night

Things can be crappy (you want a better word but that’s really how it feels) — crappy, top-of-the-line, end-of-the-line crappy, nothing the way it’s supposed to be, including your feeling of dissatisfaction with words, and then you just go, you go out alone into the dark night and walk up the road and the air is cold and you see wisps of blue cloud against black above the hills, and your eye is caught not one time but twice by shooting stars, and the water is running shush-shush across and down the mountain for the first time in months, and you crouch low in the wet road, and you want to hear the low call of an owl against the night but you don’t, and you watch the light-specked nothingness and all the thoughts splashing across and down your own mind, and you breathe, and when you walk back home and walk in the door to the bright, small room there she is, alone on the sofa, in her little-girl nightgown but taking up so much room in the room, her bones still so small but her presence seeming just so inexplicably huge, and you sit down beside her, chin on your knees, and watch her reading, and then you watch the room around you, and then you tell her, “I saw two shooting stars,” because what else is there to say, and she is quiet, and then you say, “Want to go for a walk in the dark?” and she nods, a tiny nod, without looking up at you, and why should she, since you screamed at the top of your lungs before you left the house, and didn’t even tell anyone you were going, and you called her a tattletale and spoke to her in that sharp bark of a voice that you use when she’s using that sharp bark of a voice with her little brother which she gets from that sharp bark of a voice that you use and there’s no end in sight, except you do get up and grab her turquoise parka with the fuzzy hood and your two pairs of boots and a flashlight and you do take her hand and lead her down the rain-washed slippery steps to the dark road, and you do walk together out from under the dripping trees, and when she is worried about stumbling you do tell her you’ve got her hand, it’s a clear road, and you do stretch back together to look at the sky, and you do show her the pale stripe of the Milky Way and tell her what you know, which is that when we look at the pale stripe of the Milky Way we are looking out from inside a coin at the edge of everything we can know — and while she listens and looks she sees her very first shooting star burn across the dark and of course she doesn’t gasp in any predictable way but just says “I saw one” in her quiet but always magnified voice, and when you feel like you’re ready you turn to go home but she is now watching the deep blue bowl of the sky and says, “Isn’t that the Big Dipper?” and you say, yes it is, and you put your hand inside her small parka pocket and hold her soft fingers with four of your own, and then you do go home, and you sing “The Little Drummer Boy” over her body as she slips into sleep, and you wonder what’s the poverty in your life and what is the gift, and when will you learn to play, just play the warped but powerful drum of your life, and let the warm animals around you and inside you keep time, and not worry about everything that’s noise.






6 thoughts on “Silent Night

  1. Those moments. Those moments that hit you and you realize this is it. This will never be again. This, I will remember, will she? Yes, somewhere, in her head, it will be.

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