Christmas, Connecticut, 1960

by Christopher T. George
Desert Moon Review
Honorable Mention, January 2013
Judged by Deborah Bogen

I was in school in Connecticut that December of 1960,
“The Little Drummer Boy” hung on the brisk air.

I was eleven—I identified with the song about the boy who had come
to honor him and its insistent chorus, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

Our hero of the moment was John Kennedy, the clean-cut New Englander
who’d be our new President. A new leader and a new Pope: John XXIII
—advent candles following a long darkness.

Even now, fifty years later, I thrill to that song
thrumming in my ears—pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

Witnesses said the noises did not sound like gunshots—
unforeseen—like hammerblows—pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.

So many bullet holes, so many nail holes—
Black crepe and muffled drums—

Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. . . pa-rum-pa-pum-pum. . .

"Christmas, Connecticut, 1960" is a vivid photo of a time and a weirdly accurate portrayal of the way kids, perhaps all of us, re-constellate events in ways that make a particular sense given our vantage point in the world. The merger of the Drummer Boy song with the Kennedy assassination is exactly the kind of thing an eleven-year-old would do. --Deborah Bogen

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