December’s Excerpts – Donald Richardson’s ReUNIONS

Cover of ReUNIONS by Donald Richardson. Cover is mostly blank, with the sketch of a man with his back slightly turned toward us. His posture is relaxed; his hands are in his pockets, his sleeves rolled up, and he appears to be reflecting on his life. A signature of the artist, Bob Callahan, is prominently figured beside the man. TEXT reads: ReUNIONS: New and Selected Poems by Donald Richardson.

This month, we’re bringing you a holiday edition of our featured monthly excerpts with selections from Donald Richardson’s ReUNIONS! Enjoy these three poems, selected by the poet himself!

Christmas, 1968

After hours of drunken sledding late
that snow-covered Christmas night
then back again in the warm house
after shedding our coats
we looked around to find one blond head
missing. We went back out to look and
my sister’s big husband found him pissed and
passed out in a snow drift just above the barns
between some huge boxwoods deep in snow
on his way up the serpentine walk to the big house
(he surely would have died right there)
and saved him to spend the better part
of the next forty years or so
still missing, drunk or passed out
to die at 55 on the coast of Maine
somewhere. . .
but there was never
any better place, softer, quieter
than that deep pure white snow late
Christmas night of 1968.

I knownamalot

I knownamalot to whitely quietly dream
of us sledding the huge hill behind Tacaro
on a quite drunk Christmas Eve
now almost 50 years ago.
I couldn’t see the snow;
it kept melting in my eyes,
in my hands, my frozen tears
in my head. It has never melted from
back there in 1968 December 24
and the last Christmas
we would see all of us together
in it blindly racing down the big hill,
the biggest we all might see
through the snow gone to
yesterday or Yesterday’s (a friend’s bar)
to somewhere we would know
only when we got there,
and other hills, other snows, other bars
would find us incomplete
alive and dead all the years since
that particular miracle just melted
before our eyes ever understood
the miracle we were inside of
that was almost all ours
and always would be.

There Are Two Sides

Every river
like every argument
has two sides and
what you need
to understand is
what lies between,
how deep it is,
how strong the current is
how far can you swim.

ReUNIONS can be ordered directly from BrickHouse Books. Follow our blog, or join us on Twitter and Facebook for more updates and future monthly excerpts!


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