A Blow Mold Christmas
I pack away my grandfather’s
Christmas lights while they’re warm
and each incandescent kiss
from that vintage strand
as I twist it over a custom-cut
piece of cardboard
is like talking to the man
who raised two girls while
his wife drank delusions gone
giggling on the couch. He knew
there were bad Christmases
the kind that make God disappear.
I can’t ask him what I need to now
and these lights feel unique, but like my life
they were patterned on an assembly line
of the past. Each glass teardrop
in my palm has an average rated life
but half of them will never reach it.
Every year I pack away the bulbs
that lasted and I pluck the dead ones
like spoiled grapes from a bunch.
Each time the strand needs fewer
and fewer new bulbs. Grandpa’s lights
might have a year where none burn out
Peter H. Michaels’ wrote his first poem in 2018. His poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Nimrod, The Operating System, Cagibi, and other places. His poetry book reviews have been published by PANK magazine’s blog and Sugar House Review. His website is https://peterhmichaels.com/ and he tweets from @dethmtlcardigan.