By Carl Phillips
No eye that sees could fail to remark you:
like any leaf the rain leaves fixed to and
flat against the barn's gray shingle. But
what leaf, this time of year, is so pale,
the pale of leaves when they've lost just
enough green to become the green that means
loss and more loss, approaching? Give up
the flesh enough times, and whatever is lost
gets forgotten: that was the thought that I
woke to, those words in my head. I rose,
I did not dress, I left no particular body
sleeping and, stepping into the hour, I saw
you, strange sign, at once transparent and
impossible to entirely see through. and how
still: the still of being unmoved, and then
the still of no longer being able to be
moved. If I think of a heart, his, as I've
found it.... If I think of, increasingly, my
own.... If I look at you now, as from above,
and see the diva when she is caught in mid-
triumph, arms half-raised, the bock as if
set at last tree of the green sheath that has—
how many nights?—held her, it is not
without remembering another I once saw:
like you, except that something. a bird, some
wild and necessary hunger, had gotten to it:
and like the diva, but now broken, splayed
and torn, the green torn piecemeal from her.
I remember the hands, and—how small they
seemed, bringing the small ripped thing to me.
Nearly my entire day was devoted to Bar Mitzvah-related chores and more didn't get done than did, so rather than recount my failures, I will note that the penguin placecard holders have arrived and they are adorable, and I have successfully printed legible if not ultra-classy handwritten placecards for them to hold. Also, my mother abducted Daniel from his bus stop and hauled him to the mall even though he tried to disappear and ignore text messages and phone calls, so both boys now have dressy shoes to wear with their suits.
I am having lunch with gblvr tomorrow, and she does not know it yet, but she is going to be recruited for artistic help making a sign board for everyone to autograph, which is the second-to-last major thing I must get done. Also, if anyone has a brilliant opening line for a speech that somehow ties together Jewish history and penguins, please e-mail me immediately. We had an evening meeting with the rabbi and all the other families having a B'nai Mitzvah in June. He fed us fruit in cheese in his house, asked us what we hoped our kids would remember from their ceremonies, gave us a lecture about not spending so much money on the party planner that we lose our values, and put in a pitch for the confirmation program.
The egg opens in segments to reveal miniature paintings by Johannes Zehngraf of charitable institutions supported by the Dowager Empress of Russia.
The Imperial Rock Crystal Easter Egg contains revolving miniatures also by Johannes Zehngraf of residences important Tsarina Alexandra. On top is a 27-carat Siberian emerald.
The Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg celebrates the 200th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg in 1703 and features the Winter Palace.
The "surprise" inside this egg is a miniature gold model of Peter the Great's monument on the Neva River.
This is one of two Imperial Red Cross Easter Eggs made by Faberge's jewelry firm. One was given to the Tsarina and is now in a museum in Cleveland. This is the other, created for the Tsar's mother, with a "surprise" folding collection of miniature portraits of women from the House of Romanov who supported and served in the Red Cross.
The Imperial Czarevich Easter Egg is a tribute to the son of Nicholas and Alexandra, Alexei, who suffered from hemophilia and was not expected to survive during the year before this gift was created with a miniature portrait of the crown prince set in the frame of the imperial eagle "surprise."
These miniature eggs were not made by anyone who worked for Faberge, but are Russian copies executed in a similar style.
Colbert managed to make McCain be classy and Obama be hilarious. Huge props to them all.