Maggie Dietz


In a damp camel wool coat

The door-hinges creaked

Thickened with Winston smoke

Fresh snow on the fedora’s rim

He waited for them

Turning to dew in the kitchen

Until they came from their work

Steam rising from his shoulders

Assembling oranges and cloves

Like smoke

Losing the oranges, rusted as hinges

His eyes invisible

(Like bushes surrounded with bees)

Behind glasses frosted as flutes

They flocked to that place

In the safe cupboard

Where sturdy arms lifted them up

Where they waited

Their hands coated in cloves

For champagne

In the damp steam and smoke

For something to celebrate

Hanging like ornaments from him

His cheeks cold as bottles

In the palimpsest of memory

Brought up from the basement

They will hover like words

For an anniversary

In the arms of the father

Or some good news

After work in the evening

The adults would toast

When the past came home

For the first time

COPYRIGHT 2004 The Carolina Quarterly

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group