Sunday, 7 January 2018

christmas truck

by tree riesener


that year the tree 
redolent of dark damp forest
with flickering lights through the long darkness
intensified endless waiting of a physical intensity

if I ripped open all the windows and doors
of the advent calendar could I collapse time

rich with ginger cinnamon frankincense myrrh
cakes preserved in damp rum-soaked cloth
promised a faraway sugar-sated, drunken feast

I tore small unseen holes 
in the few visible forbidden packages from distant aunts

then one evening my father
little to do with our unimportant children’s lives
came home with a small narrow cardboard box
said this is to help you wait 

for a little girl who loved knives baseball ponies
a wind-up truck you could zip across the room
a special gift from daddy’s hands
meant I had been seen heard meant I was

for many years
first in my old wooden toy chest
then in a carved keepsake box
along with a feather from an angel’s wing
a lace bag of lavender 
a grandmother’s silver thimble
a rock from the bay of fundy
my wedding ring
the sturdy little truck survived

now the gears underneath my half are locked with rust
but the wheels still turn 
examples of how we age in parts
the driver printed on the yellow metal 
endlessly holds the steering wheel to nowhere
on the dark roadbed of my desk

the other half in a brass-trimmed oak box
has been underground for many years
I slipped it 
filled with a rolled-up good-bye 
into his pocket 
before they pulled the crocheted afghan up
screwed the lid down

he left my life 
pretty much as he had lived in it
unaware of who I was or anything I needed
except for that one time
but we’re forever bound by the truck like an icon
a two-way mirror a ball of string for the labyrinth
a path running forward and backward
illumination in darkness and darkness in light




* * * * *

Tree Riesener is the author of Sleepers Awake, a collection of fiction, winner of the Eludia Award (Sowilo Press), The Hubble Cantos (Aldrich Press), EK (Cervena Barva Press) and Angel Fever, Triple No. 5, (Ravenna Press). Three previous chapbooks are Liminalog, Angel Poison and Inscapes. Her website is http://www.treeriesener.com. She is on Twitter and Facebook and loves to hear from readers.