Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gifts that keep on giving...

Gifts that keep on giving


You know when you unwrap them:
fruitcake is notorious. There were only
51 of them baked in 1917 by the
personal chef of Rasputin. The mad monk
ate one. That was what finally killed him

But there are many more bouncers:
bowls green and purple spotted like lepers.
Vases of inept majolica in the shape
of wheezing frogs or overweight lilies.
Sweaters sized for Notre Dame's hunchback.

Hourglasses of no use humans
can devise. Gloves to fit three-toed sloths.
Mufflers of screaming plaid acrylic.
Necklaces and pins that transform
any outfit to a thrift shop reject.

Boxes of candy so stale and sticky
the bonbons pull teeth faster than
your dentist. Weird sauces bought
at warehouse sales no one will ever
taste unless suicidal or blind.

Immortal as vampires, these gifts
circulate from birthdays to Christmas,
from weddings to anniversaries.
Even if you send them to the dump,
they resurface, bobbing up on the third

day like the corpses they call floaters.
After all living have turned to dust
and ashes, in the ruins of cities
alien archeologists will judge our
civilization by these monstrous relics.

"Gifts that keep on giving" by Marge Piercy, from The Hunger Moon. © Knopf, 2012. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
 
From the "Writer's Alamanac"

1 comment:

John Franklin Hay said...

Sweet! Er...