Saturday Night Rituals

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During The Hit Parade we hear his cart,
its metal wheels upon the icy street.

The newsboy’s coming with the Sunday Post,
bellowing in his nasal voice, “Baaay-perrr! ”

I look at Dad, who hands me two warm quarters.
Opening the front door I see the boy,
tiny in the streetlight’s wide corona.
Imagining I’m on skates in a Dutch winter,
I slip and slide my way to where he is,
out on the intersection’s frozen plain.
Placing the cooling coins in his gloved palm
I cradle the sheaf he hands me, like a child,
folded with Blondie and Dagwood right on top.

The new arrival brings our house alive,
its newsprint perfume filling up the den.
Dad gives the sections out, rewarding me
with both the funny papers and Parade;
but this excitement never lasts for long.

Our guest, it turns out, hasn’t much to say,
its bright folds full of empty promises.
Soon it lies like a discarded lover
on chairs and sofas. We, ourselves again,
begin the evening’s final ritual,
turning lights off, climbing up to bed.

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