Squeezing out of the backseat of a 2-door car, wearing the sweatpants
I had slept in. Silky brown hair tied
high at my crown.
Evergreen trees line the playfields
dripping icy fingers, buffering residences.
Listening to stillness. No children present.
The bounce of a ball. The middle child is
stocky, the eldest thin. A future Army Ranger and Crimson star, the other
a semi-professional football receiver. My father: stocky. A
former Marine. Since my father’s birthday is on Christmas Day, it is his day.
The haze of rainy fog greets my lungs. Exhaling puffs of frosty air. Out of towners, he has uncovered
a covered court with lower hoops. Hoodies are tossed to the side between
shooting around and two-on-two. Sweat pools. Dad sucks air.
Metal roofing pings as icy rains resume. My brothers end
court time swapping dunking.
A coast removed from home, now I wrap ice crampons
over my running shoes and hit the trail, alone.
I visualize my infant boys glancing at the
tree and presents, loading gear, zigzagging slopes with me
before our crowded feast. Evening vigil at church preceded.
Beginning Christmas morning in
silence together, inhaling morning’s nip, awakening body
and spirit, loosening, letting go.