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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

 

 

the room so bare

where just hours ago

there was light—

 

remembering now

how to celebrate emptiness

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Into Your Stocking

 

 

 

I slipped some magic markers

for coloring the world—

the leaves, the river, the moon.

You can write messages

in the sky and the wind

will blow them where

they need to go.

You can color thoughts—

give them stripes or polka dots.

You can change the hue

of a mood with a few broad strokes.

There’s one that will make you

invisible. Some markers I

don’t know what they do.

One is the color of laughter.

Another the color of forgiveness.

Don’t be surprised if other people

can’t see them. Don’t be

surprised when they graffiti

the walls around your heart.

Don’t be surprised when

you start to think in color—

when you start to believe

every idea, every word,

every dream can change

the shade of the world.

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The rules are simple. One person chooses

an ornament on the tree. The others ask

yes/no questions until they guess it correctly.

It was my mother who taught me.

I taught my own children. It’s a ritual

as important as the tree itself. Is it red?

Is it round? Is it cloth? Handmade?

 

So many questions we never can answer.

So many questions elude yes or no. But here,

in the soft glow of Christmas tree lights,

we share moments when every question

leads us closer to a treasure, where

the moments are treasures themselves.

 

 

 

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after her funeral

hanging her ornaments

on the evergreen

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First Lie

 

 

 

inside the lie

was a beautiful truth

that grew a white beard

and a giant belly

and though it preferred

to go barefoot

it stepped into shiny black boots

and moved north—

so far north that no one

could find it—

and buried itself

in snow and surrounded

itself with elves and candy

and increasingly elaborate stories,

stories so lovely that for a while

the lie began to believe itself,

until one day

a girl walked right up to it

and said to it,

Tell me the truth

and the snow melted

and the beard fell out

and the elves turned back

into evergreen trees

and the boots did their best

to erase their tracks,

and the truth stood there

naked and said,

There is so much joy

in giving,

and the girl cried

and cried,

longing for the lie.

I just want there to be real magic,

she said.

And the truth

held out its

beautiful hand

and said,

This, too, is magic.

It was years

before the girl

could listen.

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One Curiosity

 

 

 

so unwillingly

the cat jumps out

of the Christmas tree

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One Persistence

 

 

beside the fireplace,

partially eaten cookies—

all of us wanting to believe

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wishing I could wrap

devotion, wishing you

could open it

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We sat in the pew

furthest back in the church.

My father would hum all the hymns

 

and I’d lean closer to him and hum along,

then lean toward my mother

and sing with her the words—

 

I swayed between them like a metronome,

humming, then singing, then

humming, then singing.

 

How giddy I was, grateful to be the girl

between them. I did not yet know how

difficult it was to be a parent.

 

I only knew how good it felt

to be loved, how safe I felt between them,

how delighted I was to find in myself

 

some part of each of them,

so delighted that even now,

over forty years later

 

and a thousand miles away,

I remember that night

and begin to sway.

 

 

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Believe me, the bon bons are even better

than they look from the audience.

Mother Ginger has made them

with something far sweeter

than Belgian chocolate,

sweeter than old fashioned caramel.

 

And the snowflakes that fall

at the end of Act One,

they are the best kind of snow—

the kind that never melts

and never make you cold,

the kind that glitter and shimmer and shine.

 

Believe me, it’s hard to leave.

 

Before the final curtain’s drawn,

I wave goodbye and smile,

and the golden sleigh

carries me off stage right

as the Nutcracker Prince

waves goodbye and the Sugar

Plum Fairy blows me a kiss.

 

Believe me, it never gets better than this.

 

Every time I wake the next morning,

I look at myself in the mirror and notice

the diamond tiara is gone,

my white gown hangs rumpled,

a lily left out of water too long.

 

Don’t cry, I tell myself. Don’t cry,

though the tears start

to sting in my eyes. Don’t cry.

I tell myself, soon enough

my parents throw the big party again

and Fritz will wail on that blasted trumpet

and Drosselmeyer will bring me

my slender prince, disguised

as a nutcracker, and I will travel

through the strangest dream,

the most wonderful dream,

though I swear it is real.

For over a hundred twenty-five years,

it’s happened so many times

how could I not believe it?

 

And though I have always

managed to kill the king of the mice

just before he stabs my prince,

every time I fear this will be the time

I will miss with my shoe and

I’ll lose my prince forever.

And every time they push my sleigh

off stage, I pray it will stop

before it reaches the curtains,

pray that this will be the time

I get to stay. This will be the time

I wake to see the prince’s face,

and he’ll beam as he waves his hand

toward the window where the snow

is falling, catching the light,

and the symphony plays on,

a lilting waltz that spirals through

the applause, through dawn.

 

 

 

 

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