A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
In Defense of the Overly Exuberant Lawn Decorations around Washington, New Jersey Along the cold streets, my townsfolk ignite their faith. Each states that heaven’s gate’s a star brighter than its neighbors. I’m in a car with a coughing carburetor. Big night for our Lord. I’ve been supplicated too: my sisters, too drunk to drive, need tampons. They laughed. They begged. Rudolphs have snout lamps on throughout town. My one headlight’s pointed due mini-mart— O salvation. At my passing, Snoopies nod and wave. I range between Grinches and jumbo nativity scenes, all tethered to the frozen ground. Red and green lights flashing signal a nigh-holy traffic. Love is cinched to where we live. My sisters bleed together. The store feels stocked with loneliness acquired by fellow strangers. Amid expensive cards, one carps: Christ, why all the extensive, garish displays? They clutter every yard. Near cold cuts, the busybodies cluster to tsk the balloonish Santas. They snipe the puffed, lit-up reindeer with buckshot gripes: Disgraceful! What a plight… But their bluster cannot arrest this night’s ancient, tender gears. My heart’s slightly naughty. Love has made it so. The bare lawns, the darkness, are what’s unsightly. Once home, I lift the tampons to cheers and beers. Here’s to what we inflate and wire to make glow. Friends, the heart is gaudy. Light it up nightly.
BJ Ward's books include Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems, 1990-2013 (North Atlantic Books, 2013). Copyright 2020 BJ Ward. First published in Referential Magazine.