Christmas Morning Without Presents: The Depression, Granite City, Illinois
by Ellery Akers
It is 1929. The moon falls on the floor,
the pantry is empty, beans hardening like rocks in the cans.
No, you did not expect this.
The same cracked wall with its stains,
odor of your mother’s cleaning fluid,
curtains with their clean hems,
blowing in and out.
You touch the bones and lumps of the chair,
the broken wireless with its dial, you pick up a spoon,
and it’s cold. A clock ticks. The chipped plates
fill up with the moon.
You look back at the window,
tubes and vats of the factories
quiet for once.
The garbage truck rolls up the alley,
the bristles of the streetcleaner’s brush rasp on the pavement.
Your hand closes on the doorknob, quietly.
You begin to carry the stone of your childhood:
The moon. The empty room. It will be yours.