We don’t set an empty seat
at the table
where you should be.
Instead we laugh:
There has always been an emptiness here,
like a devoured stocking; an unfulfilled
Pulling crackers is like
pulling teeth or pushing daisies
out of the grave of your memory.
You are at your home,
which is not mine,
was never mine,
honouring your most ancient ritual.
Stubby fingers clasp a brown bottle,
labelled with the same shade as the scarlet letters
you left on my mothers face.
Your armchair retracts electronically.
I think you told me that once?
An electric machine for a prehistoric man.
You sit in it all day
(At least I imagine:
I never knew you)
and do not think of the trail of
shattered green glass,
that hang on the trail of years
of your paternity.
I used to ask myself: did
you know it was Christmas?
Do you hear the tones of your
loyal quintet this year?
They lost their harmonies in the
snow, years ago.
You did not come.
Their vocal chords froze.
They thawed into a collection of red,
blue, and black.
Exalting voices made bleak and dull.
I look for a second for your space at the table.
I remember, the next, your electronic chair.