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Tuesday, December 21, 2010


by Christina Pacosz

                         With apologies and gratitude to Lou Rakowski, 
                                  my best friend Suzanne's father,
                                  whose Christmas village was a wonder
                                  he surpassed each Christmas of my childhood.

The century-old granite fireplace mantle has been cleared
of found statuary and object d'art
in favor of this new town of miniature ceramic buildings
lit from within.
An image usually reserved for the description of a certain look in the eyes
that, we are told,  means
a soul is staring out at you.

But the exiled Russian princess is having none of that religiosity
as she prepares to play the tiny piano –
Tchaikovsky, maybe Chopin, or Glazunov, who knows?
She's even considered
a Joplin rag in honor of the new world she's come to.
The boy and girl cheerfully decorate the tree while the calico cat plays
          at their feet
with the milk she's spilled.
The goral couple are down from the mountains – the Tatry, the Urals,
          the Wasatch, the
Appalachians – the peaks they've missed since they took their very
          first step toward the valley.
Still,  they're happy to be in the village on the bedrock of stone.
The snow lies deep
lit from within – there's that image again! – by all the wishes
of this world and beyond for peace and bread.

The Christmas Fool, the Solstice Jester
believe they hold everything together
but not without the help of the Star Boy,  the Gwiazdka,
who is eyeing the sky in the Alaskan print on the wall above him:
a grosbeak pair, red and yellow, perch on birch branches; Prussian blue fills the horizon.
He's ready to ring the bell in his hand
when the first star appears on Wigelia, Christmas Eve.
This is a Polish village, too, after all.
Star of wonder
the English carol says.

The animals
- the bear, the donkey, the beaver -
who refuse – now – to talk
on this most magical of nights
though once they shared all the Stories the world knew
with anyone who would listen
wait for the evening edition of the newspaper
to hit the street.   The woman in red
with the white apron and scarf
has written an expose
about the destruction of habitat, the diminished diversity,
the loss of lives.
The blast furnace of greed
lit from within
that kills us all.

Born and raised in Detroit by working-class Polish-American parents, Christina Pacosz’  poetry/writing has appeared in literary magazines and online journals for almost  half a century. A poet-in-the-schools and a North Carolina Visiting Artist, she has published several books of poetry, including Greatest Hits, 1975-2001, Pudding House, 2002, a by-invitation-only series.  Her chapbook, Notes from the Red Zone, originally published by Seal Press in 1983, was selected as the inaugural winner of the ReBound Series by Seven Kitchens Press in 2009.