Partners in Progress Newsletter

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  1. Mary Riley

    Fri 22nd Feb 2013 at 11:08 am

    A Winter Night’s Dream

    Emerging not so much now from fire roaring in the parlor scenes,
    On the old Christmas cards our fifth grade teacher gave out for art projects, nor do

    I hearken to Dickens, who laid the stubborn, always burning down
    To nothing coal fires in the old, Crachettian, office, pot belly, for

    I dream of the very real kitchen, my mother toiling there to the sound of us
    Still happy with the contents of our stockings, while she stuffs the Christmas bird,

    So that it might appear, full-cooked
    By a fairy god mother, who she so markedly is not.

    If this were Thanksgiving, and I sleeping at my father’s people’s large house,
    My stick straight hair would be curled lightly

    With the curling iron Grannie used on her own white crown.
    At Thanksgiving morning, before we’d arrived in Washington, D.C. From

    Pittsburgh, five smoky old town, refugees, all tousled
    From sleeping to the sound of the old

    1935 Desoto, still running despite the shortages
    Of World War finally off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, by the the latter half of

    Night. But on Christmas we stayed in Pittsburgh,
    Here where, like so many, had to make do, with our weary, always,

    On duty, always half dreading Christmas Mama, her chair
    Turned slightly sideways at the table

    Each of us supplied with a glass of hard, Pittsburgh water from the rusty fridge
    Bottle, each glass brought to rest, at the end of the being
    Home drinking never, just “tap” water, but made cold water poured out by a table Setter’s assigned, oftenme, the youngest child’s
    small task, learned in the matter of supplying this the least of tasks for
    Quenching thirst, this simple daily libation, water poured out for us each,
    With an unspoken prayer, but nonetheless this act saying,” bring them back here every Christmas, as their childhood days brought them to these places every evening,
    To what will remain forever, their own place around this table, bring them back, and
    As Father M. always adds, to that prayer,“ safe and home and soon.”

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