THREE GIFTS IN A LOST CHRISTMAS
Perhaps skip the tree this year?
An irreverent thought
for one who loves all the Christmas rituals –
giving myself permission
to not do so much.
This year busy, and David
in more than his usual pain.
Such relief, and yet, after a day,
to lug ornament-filled boxes and
carton of fake tree boughs down
our not-to-code stairs.
Such pleasure in unwrapping the ornaments –
each one holding
a memory of time or place, its giver.
Mother’s Christmas balls
– decorated with ribbon, pearls and beads –
that, since her death,
And this one bought in Greece, this in Kauai,
Bonnie’s dove, Lavon’s angel,
the Egyptian cat from Jane.
The children gave us this shining star.
These and scores more
hung here and there as if scattered.
Actually, arranged just so.
This fond task no sooner complete when
permission seems a premonition
– no point in putting up the tree.
David’s unplanned surgery –
the holiday month spent in the hospital,
dreary and unlit.
No chance to sit by the fire with him,
listen to Winter Wonderland, reminisce
about Christmases past.
A new year, a new back –
home at last.
And there, under the still-up tree,
a small package, wrapped in brown paper,
tied with a cord.
In it, something
strong and tender
that stares down suffering –