In Those Decembers


Adeste Fideles at 8 am
In Latin you bet
Several hundred of us
Crammed in the school lobby
Upright piano barely audible
Over full-throated girlsong
All spite and measure put aside
For one hour
For the carols
Thoughtless as bird chant
Drenching as rain


Then up to class
Cluster by cluster
In the big boxy elevators
We’re still singing
Third fourth fifth floor
Clinging to the descant
As the lobby strains recede
Voices rising on pulleys
Until we’ve become an autonomous pod
Of harmony


Much much later we’ll stagger
Under the tonnage of children’s
Tinselled expectations
We’ll cramp from gnawing yet again
On the sentient apple of adulthood
That reveals the paucity of magic
The famine of desire


But right now the elevator door
Slides open
The corridor receives us
Bright, fresh-mopped
We’ve burst into the homeroom
Awash in river sunslant
We’re still singing