A sprig of holly like a poem reads
in quiet contradiction: crimson beads
on bladed leaves, some peace. Our little town
twinkles with scenes of farm beasts at a birth.
We and our livestock overwhelm the earth’s
homier inhabitants. Sorry. I’ve been watching
documentaries these silent nights
to get the story unfolding from our story.
For the TV ads the mind is full of snow
and the North Pole, where on a drifting floe
another anxious creature is doomed to drown.
Sorry. But the displays of pretty lights
thicken each year to blind with how we’re botching—
sorry—have botched this wonderful life. I’m sorry.
Michael Steffen lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. He has published in venues including Another Chicago Magazine, The Boston Globe, The Concord Saunterer, Harvard Review Online, Ibbetson Street, The Lyric, and Taos Journal. His first book, Partner, Orchard, Day Moon, was published in 2014. Of his second book, On Earth As It Is, forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press, Joan Houlihan has noted Steffen’s “intimate portraits, sense of history, surprising wit and the play of dark and light . . . the striking combination of the clear-eyed and the complicated, the everyday and the transcendent.”