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daniel biegelson

notes on winter holidays

Even you are responsible

             to more than you. My daughter likes visiting

the pet store. It’s like a zoo she says. She wants

a calico she can walk with a string. On the way

home she says do we sing poems before we light candles.

‘Not to see by but to look at.’  On one level,

the mind doesn’t impose order. The mind

             doesn’t impose order. Order presumes

priority. Good credit score. A forwarding address.

My bills accumulate in empty spaces.

My subject position won’t stand still.

On one level, we are not casual acquaintances.

Imagine we are pressed upon one another.

For a while we lived on the second story

above The Leader Store just down the street

from The Woolworth, which still had a griddle

and a soda fountain and smelled of melted butter.

I am not nostalgic. No need. I can still remember

the photographs. I am a frame. Sometimes

a window enclosing and disclosing. We take

the subway to the museum exchanging yous

through the tunnel and into the terminal. Imagine

we are pressed against each other. ‘Mingled breath

and smell so close’ The silver doors. A cell membrane.

You are a witness only to what you admit. Some words

emit so many possibilities they threaten to burst.

             What is light. What is rain. Now a metaphor.

Take two and answer in the morning. We look

and do more than look. My daughter says

you talk with your eyes off.  Why should everything

we see interact with light. I am counting

clouds destined for Florida. I moved the store here.

This is inescapably common. Where is here. Will you pray

with me. Pray with your feet on the pavement.

When she was born we didn’t know if she would ever

walk. Now my daughter says my whole body is a winter

storm as she leaps across the couch cushions. No digging

out. The self is a reintegration of exponential

apologies—a crowd of people in multi-colored coats

holding handmade signs and choosing to sit or stand

in the same world. After you. No, I insist. After you.

Daniel Biegelson is the author of the chapbook Only the Borrowed Light (VERSE) and Director of the Visiting Writers Series at Northwest Missouri State University as well as an Associate Editor for The Laurel Review. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Cream City Review, FIELD, Meridian, and Third Coast, among other places.

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