Saint Andrew’s Day

This is one of five poems I submitted to earn my spot in my upper level poetry class at the University of Kansas. I originally wrote it in 2010 in Dr. Matt’s Poetry 1 class at the University of Kansas.

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Today is Saint Andrew’s Day, and I’ll go
home and crack a beer and throw one back
for old times. I don’t normally drink,
not anymore, but on a holiday
I’ll crack open a beer and throw one back
for old times. Today is Saint Andrew’s
Day, and I’ll hang up the old blue flag
and have a beer with hungry ghosts. I’ll
empty the bottle out, closing the
hearth shrine doors and sit in the dark ‘til
sleep covers me. And I’ll buy one more
good bottle of beer tomorrow, to
place it on its own shelf in the fridge.
Several times a day I’ll open
the fridge to get something, or maybe
nothing, and I’ll hesitate for a
moment, door in hand, while the bottle
and I consider one another.
On the first night of Yule I’ll open
that kitchen shrine door and retrieve that
bottle. We’ll both stand before the hearth
shrine doors and sacrifice ourselves in
honor of all that is traditional
and proper. Twelve days of Yule and twelve
bottles of black blood later I will
greet the New Year, with all it’s many
holy days, each with its bottle of
black or brown. I will be a model
of ritual observance steeped in
ritual temperance. And when the
Eleventh of November makes its
inexorable return, I’ll open
that kitchen shrine and retrieve a bottle,
and we’ll walk right by the hearth shrine doors
and offer ourselves in memory
of all that was inevitable
and unforgettable. And I’ll
hang up the old black flag and salute
it with hungry ghosts, emptying out
a battalion of bottles, washing
out the heart shrine, the doors locked tight
on all other days. And I’ll sit in
the dark chasing oblivion, to
catch it before the dread memories
catch me. The next day, or sometimes on
the day after that, or even a
few days after that I will go buy
a bottle of beer to install there
to await my return on the next
Saint Andrew’s Day.

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Filed under Learning, Right Living, Stories & Poems, University of Kansas

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