The first Christmas card of the season from the Santa Ana Star Casino in New Mexico. It is good for five dollars in my favorite slot machine. I still like the picture from artist Arthur Menchego. The card says his given name is KA WHE TEWA, which means "where there is snow." The poem is from last Sunday's New York Times Magazine. I am working on a Christmas song post next. My favorite time of the year.
As soon as the elderly waiter
placed before me the fish I had ordered,
it began to stare up at me
with its one flat, iridescent eye.
I feel sorry for you, it seemed to say,
eating alone in this awful restaurant
bathed in such unkindly light
and surrounded by these dreadful murals of Sicily.
And I feel sorry for you, too —
yanked from the sea and now lying dead
next to some boiled potatoes in Pittsburgh —
I said back to the fish as I raised my fork.
And thus my dinner in an unfamiliar city
with its rivers and lighted bridges
was graced not only with chilled wine
and lemon slices but with compassion and sorrow
even after the waiter removed my plate
with the head of the fish still staring
and the barrel vault of its delicate bones
terribly exposed, save for a shroud of parsley.
By Billy Collins