A Riverine Christmas

I drink coffee while everyone else is asleep. Alone in an armchair, I stare at the yellow rectangle of light coming from the kitchen. The furnace groans and floorboards creak. The house is like an old man farting. Five more years and it will turn one hundred. I think of the other families that have lived here, the elderly woman visiting from Maine who informed us the little basement window by the deck had once been a coal chute. Seeing all the toy trucks in the yard, she commented that she had grown up with only sisters. We would have invited her inside but there was a pandemic. I must summon the will to get dressed so I can ride my bike along the frozen river gorge where the Canadian geese sleep with their faces tucked under their wings and the coyotes prowl the forest. The house will not miss me and there are packages to deliver.

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