Company at Christmas
by Pat Daneman

I wait for the mail and for water
to boil for tea.  I worry
that too much snow will come—

or no snow.  Alone
in the house, I watch the sky
and I wait.  As the sun

clears the sky of its snow-cover
of clouds and the ground
of its cloud of snow, I wait

for you all to arrive, all at once,
to feel the cold caught in your coats,
to touch your cheeks burned red

by the freeze and thaw of travel.
I love the clutter of your luggage
in the hall, the trips upstairs,

the guest room smell of smooth,
clean bedding, the squared stack
of books on the bedside table.

I’ve waited all year for the noise
of extra footsteps overhead,
for the need to bring out all

the dishes, matched and mismatched,
for the long days when breakfast
takes till lunchtime, the long stretches

of nothing to talk about, the way
everyone pulls in close as a story
gets started, as the fire catches and leaps

and shadows move on the wall,
as someone sits down to play an old song
that everyone knows the words to.  


Pat Daneman’s poetry has recently been published in Off the Coast,
qarrtsiluni, Cortland Review, and Fresh Water, among others.  Her
poem “
Thanksgiving,” printed in the Spring 2008 issue of the Apple
Valley Review
, was selected for the 2009 Best of the Net Anthology.  
Daneman lives in Kansas City.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 5, Number 1
(Spring 2010)

Copyright © 2010
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.