Black Cypress

by angeliska on December 25, 2002

Spinning down a thin gray thread of highway,
our tiny rental-pod rocking with the force
of a rhythmic, pounding rain
careening on its inexorable trajectory into the past-
time running backwards..
Spindly black cypress stumps huddle together
in the dead winter air, rising like black elf-castles
out of brackish green swampwater.
Snowy white herons nestled in the bare branches-
ghostly in the half-light..
A towering shock of pink lightning
cascades through the trees alongside us
its power and propinquity unnerving-
a column of pure electric fire
that hangs there for breathless moments,
its afterimage burned on our eyelids..
We travel towards the eye of the storm
in and out of bands of furious downpour
all still for deceptive moments before
the dead leaves start to shiver
the wind picks up, blowing 70-75 mph
and bright turquoise lightning shatters the sky
Tornadoes touch down as we take refuge
with kind strangers, and in the morning
the cold has come, and the slow nausea
the rollicking movement, mesmerising..
Here I am safe and gezellig in christmas-land
in the loving bosom of family and familiarity..
But I can’t help feeling sad and distracted
knowing of others who sit alone,
these nights like any other- solitary and forlorn
without the slightest hint of cheer..
I feel very guilty, I have so much love..
We sing the gower wassail
and green grow the rushes oh
the violin crackling in candlelight
this is everything, these songs we sing
the heathen musical tradition
carried every year by my family
I am warm, my belly is full.
I am flooded by all I once knew.
I stand in wonder before the truth
of my good fortune
and know myself to be truly blessed.
Two, two the lily white boys, covered all in green o,
one is one and all alone and ever more shall be so.

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