Which we packed in the basement of a
church nearby the restaurant,
first taped the cardboard
into relevant dimensions, then
“Two carrots, two corns, one of everything else,”
over and over, like a salesperson
in a bazaar, till it might have been
“Mind the gap,” or other white noise we
keep around for security, repeated
till the boxes got heavy, taped, stacked,
till the cadence followed me back
through an empty, confetti filled street
where floats had ghosted minutes ago,
parade and ceremony past on ahead.
Could see batons where they had spun like
hear brassy echoes of marching bands
ringing in November air.
I had watched for so long
I had forgotten it was moving.
“All the best this holiday season!”
We had written it on the cards for the boxes,
and I found one in my pocket as I walked,
took pictures of the approach, the getaway,
the northwest corner, the southwest corner,
got good and drunk the night before, so I looked and felt my best
as I went that morning. It was
the confetti that got to me when it burst and fell
in slow motion like synthetic snowflakes
and then settled down. Would get damp and muddy,
and around Christmas, I knew,
I might see one piece flickering in the cold
caught under a nail somewhere.
I found the parade once again that evening
in the back seat of a minivan,
passing a power plant,
lit up skeletons in the darkness,
this industrial Badlands of East Coast Americana.
It smelled like sewage.
We pass it every year, the way the parade passes.
Then we arrive home with the last notes of the song,
evidence against our staying power,
our packaging, upon return, found intact.