Get our newsletters
The Poet's Corner

Among My Father’s Stories


Much is blamed on women. How we wear

our beauty, for example: boldly,

irresponsibly, flash and flaunt, or not at all:

mouse dropping drab. It’s 1948,

girls are singing, wearing white, a chorus

from the upper school of Saint-Some-Woman’s-Name.

Christmastime in 1948. They’re singing

in the overheated day room of the V.A. Hospital

in Richmond, wearing white, before an audience

of men all freshly bathed and listening.

Panes are fogged. Heat swirls and eddies.

Disinfectant, taffeta, L’air du Temps, cold sweat.

It’s close, the war is over, radiators hiss

and girls are singing in the overheated dayroom

wearing white, the wounds aren’t new,

it’s Christmastime. A girl—so beautiful,

this girl— and here, my father’s voice

begins to crack— so beautiful, this girl in white

at the end of a row of girls wearing white,

leans toward the man who sits before her,

panes are fogged, and asks what song he’d like to hear.

He doesn’t answer right away.

She waits and smiles.

1948, L’air du Temps, radiator hiss.

He answers, roughly, “Silent Night.”

The girls begin to sing and as they do, the man

who had not spoken in four years begins to weep,

the other men begin to weep, my father

at the age of 92 begins to weep— it’s Christmastime

in 1948 and girls are singing, wearing white.

from Tips for Domestic Travel

Bedminster-based Hayden Saunier is the author of five poetry collections and her work has been awarded the Rattle Poetry Prize, Pablo Neruda Prize, and a Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared widely in journals and featured on The Writers Almanac, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and Pennsylvania Public Radio. She is the founder/director of No River Twice, an interactive, audience-driven poetry performance.

Poet’s Corner is curated by Bucks County Poet Laureate Tom Mallouk and supported by a grant to the Bucks County Herald Foundation made possible by Marv and Dee Ann Woodall.

Note from the curator: Lovers of poetry and those of you who have enjoyed Poet’s Corner, please show your support by making a donation directly to the Bucks County Herald Foundation. As you probably know the Herald is a nonprofit owned by the foundation and relies on community support. The space dedicated to Poet’s Corner is space that would otherwise be used for advertising. Any amount of money will help make it possible to continue Poet’s Corner beyond mid-February 2024. Donate at Be sure to mention Poet’s Corner.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.