Driving into Fredonia from the dark
fields and vineyards outside
of my somnambulistic village,
the white lights wink alive and awake on Sycamore trees
while the old fashioned buildings
welcome the stranger that I am tonight.
I see this place as if for the first time, now.
My travels in cities blazing and dark
are over. There’s a welcome in these buildings,
handsful of comfort in old snow on the Commons’ Christmas tree.
The 19th Century fountains dance with lights. Village
hall smiles, full of white lighted windows. Village
gazebo appears a playful carousel of spirit tonight.
Shocking wind rustles the last leaves on trees
lining Barker Square. Snow clouds pounce, dark,
and laden with Erie’s energy on Temple and Main. Outside,
the green bushes wiggle with chill. Brick buildings
croon comfort to the traveler. Stalwart buildings
stand the lake storm now buffeting the village.
And I, weary with this century’s motion, lean outside
the Opera House humming an aria. Tonight
I hum fiercely, letting loose the dark
tones I have collected. Evergreen trees
blow back the tunes on their boughs. Silver maple trees
drop their dead limbs. Watch them bounce against buildings.
They fall quiet. They do what the they must tonight.
I stop humming, disoriented in this village.
Confusion is striking on Christmas Eve.
The world, tearing itself apart, tries to break me. A facade
of a quiet birth is miracle enough to have survived outside
this numbing storm. The bare Ginko trees
on Central Avenue are as foreign as Bethlehem tonight.
I hold on to the solid brick of the Russo building
and wait for the snow to pass through the village.
Then there is only the winking of little lights in darkness.
The century turns outside these buildings.
Lit spires of trees in Fredonia
on Christmas Eve, glimmer in winter’s storm and dark.