It’s too cold to go out;

it’s too dark to wander in the city. 

Music grows quieter in the houses.

We draw & dream of spring flowers.

It’s too dark to wander in the city

while the snow settles down—

We draw & dream of spring flowers,

but the leaves are frozen over

while the snow settles down—

Bundle up dear ones; wear your warm boots,

but the leaves are frozen over:

be careful out there! Don’t slip—

Bundle up dear ones! Wear your warm boots.

Music grows quieter in the houses.

Be careful out there! Don’t slip—

It’s too cold to go out.

“If you don’t eat at Breeze,”

the hotel’s concierge warned us,

“you could spend 

your New Year’s Eve

with ruffians!”

What are ruffians exactly 

in Nantucket?

Are they the fishermen 

with long, bushy beards 

who wear flannel shirts & eat at Stubby’s,

or are they the workmen

that come from all the corners of the earth,

dreaming of whales & boats?

Are they the grizzly grandmas

who shop solo at Stop & Shop,

driving their weathered Volvos,

or the waitresses from Ireland,

Thailand & Jamaica,

they miss their homeland

as they pour more drinks?

Are they the shopgirls 

with frizzy hair, 

sharp eyes & fast hands,

speaking in indecipherable accents?

Or are they other poor visitors,

pretending to be rich 

for four nights,

at the end of the year,

like artists, musicians or poets,

who play & perform 

for their supper

as the tipsy audience cheers them on?

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”—

Today’s evergreens smell like dead leaves,

the city sidewalks are wet with rain.

No snow (yet); in this December

today’s evergreens smell like dead leaves.

Holiday cookies are store-bought; hot Lipton tea is fragrant, but

no snow yet! In this December,

money is too tight for any gift-giving this season.

Holiday cookies are store-bought; hot Lipton tea is fragrant, but

our love still brews strong here.

Money is too tight for any gift-giving this season,

but our faces glow with happiness, because

our love still brews strong here.

The city’s sidewalks are wet with rain,

but our faces glow with happiness, because

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”

Dear God, 

please don’t let me throw up.

Rudy’s Uncle S is driving his mom’s CRV,

like Mario Andretti cruising down Henry Hudson Parkway.

“Please slow down,” I pleaded.

“We don’t have seatbelts in the back seat…”

Rudy’s mom is almost comatose;

she’s the navigator. And Aunt J

is hanging her head out of the car,

as if she was a 10-year-old girl in Haifa.

We don’t feel well. We ate too much—

Turkey, 4 kinds of salad, cranberry sauce,

green beans & mushrooms, rice & mushrooms,

pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, apple cake,

& a cake shaped like a dinosaur.  

A feast for the gods!

Rudy’s mom: “This may be the last 

Thanksgiving dinner I’ll make.”

She’s been saying this for years.

Now, she doesn’t want to cross Central Park alone.

But Uncle S still speeds on 5th Ave,

& Aunt J is still nauseated,

& Rudy sits in the middle,

trying not to create another argument.

I hold on, white-faced,

unto the seat for dear life—

hoping that this last great meal

will stay down.   

As we gather together during cool mornings,

the coffee percolates! 

The pumpkins outside still smile

with toothy grins. The kids sip hot apple cider; 

the coffee percolates.

Daddy scrubs the pans clean.

With toothy grins, the kids sip hot apple cider 

as Mom bakes pumpkin pies. 

Daddy scrubs the pans clean 

while ignoring all the Christmas ads & merchandise.

As Mom bakes pumpkin pies,

we say our daily prayers

while ignoring all the Christmas ads & merchandise.

The pumpkins outside still smile.

We say our daily prayers

as we gather together during cool mornings.

my brain buzzes like a mosquito;

bladder’s full of water

at 5 am—

just give me the weight of the heavens,

seeing the curvature of the Earth 

as my eyes close again—

the stars continue to wink

without provocation,

(but I don’t see them)

& light outside 

is a heavy aquamarine—

I try to reach for you

on the other side of the bed,

but you are already

under the ocean—

please let me sleep again.

radical thoughts of expiration 

are buzzing—quiet them all!

let’s inhale—exhale; 

swat them away

until everything shuts off

in the almost-waking world—

snoring deep again

sun peeks through 

the apartment buildings, 

I miss it 

until noon

a drone helicopter 

darts by the window—

or, was it a dream?