When did we cease being
Wide eyed and curious
Of this velvety world
Not ever
Shouts blue rinsed grandmother
And sings her baudy war songs
To the chip chop chop of her brothers clumsy accompaniment
On stairwell piano with missing ivory
It was said
Parlor tricks began with family visits
Light a cone of newspaper on your head
A second from setting fire to your hair
There were jugglers in the house
Catching Xmas clementines by the handful
And ladies whose pure voices lifted up sagging furniture
Such the gratitude of survival
Friends of shared blood and homemade eye patches
When did we cease lighting candles to cast a glow
Making magic of things otherwise ignored
Not ever
Today, everyone is dressed in threadbare finery
Auditioning for heaven, the old ones say
And all I thought of was the last licorice stick
Staining the inside of my mouth like forbidden wish
We remain alive by sheer will, it is the rush of nature
To keep us tethered by thinnest string, weaving our own