Mary Elizabeth Birnbaum

Coming Home from Work in December

             Jolted in the bus,
I look up                to see     where we are,
              almost dizzy because of              gloom
and the dazzle of          passing                        Christmas lights.

The bus windows mist,
                                           streaked with bubbles, as if
               we working folk                     dazed with fatigue     ride
                            in a crooked flute of champagne.

In the half-melted snowy night,
               I think                   a crowd of angels            has stumbled
into a gigantic glass of fizzy stars.
                                                                  Drunk wings stagger,
               lost       in mazy avenues                     of heaven.

We toss                 on our seats,    leaning on thin metal,   tinsel
                                            and dingy glass,
wondering     if we miss our stops              in the dark.

Mary Elizabeth Birnbaum was born, raised, and educated in New York City. Mary’s translations of the Haitian poet Felix Morisseau-Leroy has been published in The Massachusetts Review, Into English (Graywolf Press), and in And There Will Be Singing, An Anthology of International Writing. Her work has appeared in Lake Effect, J Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Soundings East, Barrow Street, and other literary journals. In 2022 Mary received two nominations for a Pushcart Prize.

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