An Old Man Performs Alchemy on His Doorstep at Christmastime

by Anna George Meek

Cream of Tartar, commonly used to lift meringue and
angel food cake, is actually made from crystallized fine wine.

After they stopped singing for him,
the carolers became transparent in the dark,
and he stepped into their emptiness to say
he lost his wife last week, please
sing again. Their voices filled with gold.
Last week, his fedora nodded hello to me
on the sidewalk, and the fragile breath
of kindness that passed between us
made something sweet of a morning
that had frightened me for no earthly reason.
Surely, you know this by another name:
the mysteries we intake, exhale, could be
sitting on our shelves, left on the bus seat
beside us. Don't wash your hands.
You fingered them at the supermarket,
gave them to the cashier; intoxicated tonight,
she'll sing in the streets. Think of the old man.
Who knew he kept the secret of levitation,
transference, and lightness filling a winter night?
— an effortless, crystalline powder
That could almost seem transfigured from loss.

please note: photo by ganesh vnd on flickr


  1. Amazing poem. Tears in my eyes. Merry Christmas.

  2. Honestly....I don't know how our inner thoughts seem to travel...thank you for the sweet words...sad and yet very sweet...smiles.

  3. A mystical poem. One of those I'd likely never to have read if not for my Christmas Eve visit here.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, including the patients now in your care.


  4. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks for the past year's worth of meaningful reading--especially todays.

  5. That was a lovely poem. Love your snowy banner too. Happy Christmas and New Year to you.

  6. So many of us forget the loss that many - many - feel at this time of year and also experience as others unwrap gaily printed paper and shout with joy or pout with anger - while others shuffle through the day - trying to figure out how to get one foot in front of the other because they have lost a part of them that was so precious and had been there for the last 50 years and suddenly - something came - out of nowhere - and took it away - in a breath - in a sparkling millisecond - and it is gone forever and they are left to shuffle through the debris of life while others sing Hallelujah without recognizing the words.


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Hey, thanks for your thoughts and your time:>)

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