The ancient evening is distempered
by a brutal wash of luminescence
that is Route 17 during Christmas
—a highway and a holiday well-matched,
a place and time profitably bound
up in a storm of white light and commerce:
Tool Town, Bennigan’s, Filene’s
Basement. December’s overhead
split by Boeing 747s
headed for Newark, I could hardly hear
the frantic conversation in my ear
as we sat in traffic under ten
Santas on top of a Plymouth dealer’s
roof, their big hands turned up to heaven.

 

 

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 23 Number 4, on page 39
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https://newcriterion.com/issues/2004/12/route-17