Shane Seely, "Viewmaster"



Each Christmas, as the mother read from the family bible
of the birth of Christ by Christmas lights
that spangled the Frasier fir in the living room,

the boy turned the square eyes of the old Viewmaster
toward the light that spilled in from the kitchen.
He watched the story figured frame by frame

in three dust-enhanced dimensions: there,
the gravid wife upon a donkey; there, the innkeeper
pointing to the stable. The angels seemed cast

in smoothest porcelain, and the wise men posed
like mannequins. And then the Christ child, son of man,
brilliant in his nest of hay: his cheek had the curve and color

of the plastic apples in the bowl on the dining table,
so red and round that the boy would sometimes reach for one
even though he knew they weren’t real.


Shane Seely is the author of The Snowbound House, a winner of the 2008 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. His chapbook of poems, History Here Requires Balboa, was published by Slash Pine Press in 2012. His second full-length collection, The Surface of the Lit World, won the 2014 Hollis Summers Prize and will be published by Ohio University Press in 2015. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.