10th Day of Christmas/January 3, 2014
Today my list is full. I drive the highway light of traffic,
the Christmas season keeps one last workday
in reverence. He sits beside me bundled against the
cold not having understood the weather report, sixty
degrees today. Our excursion to the cemetery on roads
of his memory, his television repair shop, his church,
his family house in Globeville, a fifty minute trip one way.
The Polish church steeple the only landmark able to peek
above the concrete wall protecting it from speeding cars.
Our monthly visit to mom waited for three. Familiar
words accompany the ride, same stories told each
time this map is followed. “Just in case” a folded walker
sits as a third passenger in the backseat, his cane tucked
next to him in front. Legs unsure rise up steps too tall
into the mausoleum. I move summer flowers from
the vase, three months too long a stay. A winter bouquet
slips into the place of reverence. We say prayers, five
Our Fathers and five Hail Marys, and mom’s daily verse
to Our Lady of Czestochowa. Today it’s not enough. He
wants to stay longer, but can’t figure out good reasoning.
We gather again inside the car making our way to the
dry grass place of his mother and father. No flowers here,
no headstones mark the spot, but he knows where they
lie. At the intersection before the main road, to the right.
He will not walk the bumpy sod hoping to trim the grass
growing over the plaques set deeply into the ground so
lawnmowers can cut the summer lawn with ease. He looks
through the window of the car and tells them he loves them.
With one bow of his head, as if to say, “Okay, I am ready,”
another bow follows, and then, “Let’s go.” He has their
permission. He says it will be his last visit, the next one will be
to stay. We buy hamburgers and fries for lunch on our way home.
You will notice, if you are reading my poems, that I have jumped from the 4th Day of Christmas to the 10th Day of Christmas. My hope was to write from the first Sunday in Advent through the 12th Day of Christmas, with one poem for each week of Advent and then 12 poems for the days following. I hoped to use traditions in the Catholic church as inspiration. I wished to avoid the song and wanted to focus on the saints and feasts.
However, I found that this path did not lead me to inspiration, but despair. The saints became saints because of their difficult journeys. It was the Feast of the Holy Innocents that brought my journey to a halt. It took me days to find something to celebrate for that day. So I found myself not joyfully celebrating this time, but avoiding my computer. It has been a bit of a dry time post Christmas day.
Today’s poem began as Litnay of 10 in a nod to ten lords a leaping, with a list of ten things I needed to accomplish. But the day had its own path and I followed it.