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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’




The first year I won the Slush Mush contest
I was shocked as my grandfather read a long, official letter
to everyone else around the Christmas tree
about how my entry into the Slush Mush Breakfast Cereal contest
had been the best one received that year.
I didn’t remember entering.
In fact, I was sure I had not.
Yet I won a puzzle.
Another year my brother won.
Or my mother. Or my cousin.
And each Christmas morning, my grandfather read
the long official letter
which always ended “Eat more Slush Mush.”
It was many years before I understood
how the contest worked.
And for the last twenty years
since he’s been gone,
I carry on, buying puzzles, writing letters,
appointing unsuspecting winners.
Part of me thrills in this annual ruse
because it reminds me of him.
Part of me thrills in remembering
how strange and wonderful it felt
to be chosen not because of how hard
I had tried, but because I was part
of a circle of love. It’s a malnourished world,
he would write every year. Thank you, Papa,
for the Slush Mush.

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Tonight when we light
the third candle,
the candle of joy,
I remember
I am a girl
sitting beside
an evergreen wreath,
giddy with advent,
and I breathe in the scent
of spruce and wax
and fall in love
with the growing
of the light—
how each week
the tapers burn brighter—
and such a surprise
to find I am also
in love with the unlit candle,
in love with the wait,
in love with the part
of me that even
in darkness
knows itself
as flame.

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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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