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Thursday, December 20, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

Every night he backs the SUV out of the driveway and sees the inflatable Frosty in his rearview mirror. This one has a whole manger scene in his belly. All lit up. As he drives his brother back to the Hilton he sees other houses with their Christmas lights. But it's not what it used to be. The children on his block are grown now, parents too old to climb ladders and hang from roofs. He centers a wreath on his door, but doesn't even bother with candles. The subdivisions no longer bond with their elaborate themes. First it was all the traffic blocking their streets. Then it was the energy crisis. People buying the homes these days don't want to be told how to decorate, he says. They're young, he says. They have their own ideas, he says. They carry screwdrivers in their pockets, just for fun. And his brother's family no longer stays with him.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Leads (Otoliths Press, 2007), Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.