carried on a shivering breeze.
Security guards looked uneasy
beside the doors of a mall
in the midst of a late close.
Displays dimmed in quick secession,
mannequins in formal wear were left
standing in the dark.
On the corner the party raged.
Two silhouettes sat still
backs against the light,
black lumps traced
by white fluorescence,
with an orange highlight.
One liter of Listerine
The light tinted in mouthwash:
a stained glass portrait,
like a scene from my bible:
a slurred nativity. I walked
slower past the revelers.
ears perked to listen to
an unintelligible conversation
in angry tones. The two shared
gulps of the season's cocktail.
Remnants of the old neighborhood
creep out into the bright part of Vancouver
at awkward times--cold snaps
near Christmas, when people are
supposed to care about the poor,
remember the old story
of a couple pushed out,
who found no where to sleep.
And the uncouth foul-mouthed
Shepherds watching their flocks
half-drunk and stinking, abandoning
their posts and hastening to the city.
The last shoppers wandered by
under high-rises of million dollar condos
hemming in the old neighborhood
of a city trying everything
to hide an embarrassment,
or push it back to the periphery.
The Christmas party did not have long,
security spotted the couple and
hastened from their post to end it.
I watched a moment, then left
with a Christmas song
humming in my head.