Almost dark and I should be going
but it's a green Christmas
or brownish, at least, and sirens

kick up suddenly. We're still
not safe, not even here. In church
this morning I watched the flame

of the candle suck and flicker,
I blew my breath at the chimney
and felt the old thoughts of fire

and time and death flare up.
A red and brown and blue dusk,
no wind, branches still

as children playing freeze tag.
Another siren. Nothing stirs.
I spend my whole life learning

to be quick and sure, and now
a moment's silence drives me stupid.
Do I want the world to wait for me?

When the sirens are finished
the birds take back the air.
The white tail floats through brush

like a half moon set free. It's cold
but I think better on the move.
A lump of coal is still a gift.

©Jeff Gundy