Saturday, January 15, 2011
The Christmas tree is back where it belongs and birds rest where ornaments did.
They appear to be fooled by it all
which makes us feel better for it.
The heirloom ornaments,
each with a story,
are tissue-wrapped and boxed up in the back room that has no heat
but it doesn't matter.
The figgy pudding drizzled with brandy failed to light. But it didn't matter.
The cookies were all eaten or given away to family members from afar who are now back in their own quiet homes and private lives, though we pretend
through email and the occasional phone call
to keep up.
Somebody could buy a puppy and I wouldn't know
or find a boyfriend
or a lover
and I wouldn't know.
Better not to let one know
about the lover.
Only the garland remains, strung around
the porch from hooks where ferns hung through October.
The cedar swag is lush in a different way.
And I might be jealous of a lover,
of one mindless for me
and damn the consequences.
To have that.
Not a puppy, though one understands
the need to lower oneself to the level of animals.
and puppy kisses
after the family Christmas
where we all pretend to like each other.
The standing rib roast didn't happen
but we always give ourselves another chance.
The Christmas cards didn't happen . . . where are they?
People don't send cards anymore and the few
we received aren't cards.
They're family photos-
pictures of dressed up children forced into
velvet outfits and smiles
with no note, not even a signature.
Don't send me those.
Or pictures of puppies
though some do the puppies because they don't have children
nor want them or their kisses and expenses.
You can't have children without
considering what they will take from you
over the course of a lifetime,
the arithmetic of it
When the tree is forced through the doorway
in the opposite direction, we sweep up the needles
and rearrange the furniture and think about next year