Iowa Writes

ROBERT DANA
Taking Down the Christmas Lights


Our neighborhood's gone dark again,
all its Christmas lights down now.
We unclipped from our eaves, two
weeks ago in the unseasonable, late
December warm, thirty yards
of blue icicles, accordioning them
into fist-sized bundles, securing them
with green plastic ties, the kind
meant for staking up garden
plants in summer, then packing them
neatly in a box marked Outside.
Our P-E-A-C-E sign with its mad
racing combinations and slow fade-
out-fade-in hangs blankly green
once again for another whole year
with the tools in the garage: crowbar,
loppers and pruners, step ladder.

Our neighborhood's gone dark again,
all its Christmas lights down now.
We unclipped from our eaves, two
weeks ago in the unseasonable, late
December warm, thirty yards
of blue icicles, accordioning them
into fist-sized bundles, securing them
with green plastic ties, the kind
meant for staking up garden
plants in summer, then packing them
neatly in a box marked Outside.
Our P-E-A-C-E sign with its mad
racing combinations and slow fade-
out-fade-in hangs blankly green
once again for another whole year
with the tools in the garage: crowbar,
loppers and pruners, step ladder.

And tonight, the season at last grown
wintry, knuckles cracking with cold,
my wife coils up snaking extension
cords and dismantles our white,
skeletal, antlered reindeer, Horatio,
—he of the moving head—last
and best of show, folding him down
and packing his separate parts
into his proper carton for storage
in the basement, along with boxes
of bulbs, strings of lights, tree
ornaments, some with family histories.
And the two small, robin sized,
feathered birds, one red, one white,
that top our tree as shining spikes
and stars and archangels do others'—
the one descending, the other rising.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


ROBERT DANA

Robert Dana is Poet Laureate of Iowa.

This page was first displayed
on April 27, 2006

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