Green Hills Literary Lantern






The glass pane reflects

a small boy at the neighboring table

discussing, with a frown, the odd

yet consequential habits of Santa Claus,

and reflects the sparkling Christmas tree

and the staff in red Santa caps

chatting by the flaming brick oven

of this soft, casual Italian restaurant,

while beyond the window falls

a gray winter rain,

black umbrellas flashing past,

a young woman across the Greenwich Village street

stretching in the warmth of her apartment, one

decorated for the season, while

I—happening upon

my ghostly face

reflected amid the glowing images

before and behind me,

take a sip of red wine, my glass

a pagan chalice.





The Watch



kept to a corner

of a dream, watching it

with me, until I glanced up

to see my grandfather

not in the memories

my three-year-old mind

enshrined after he died

but from my present perspective—

aged into the decade of his death—

noting the features we share

and those we don’t

until I wept with joy

at this wondrous reunion—

though his gentle smile

told me that our reunion

was all one-sided, told me

that his love, lavished

upon my toddler self,

had not been lost

but had been, after all,

at the edge of every dream,

sleeping or waking,

keeping watch.





Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His books include the collection While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013) and two chapbook collections: Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). For more information, please visit