Monday, January 24, 2011

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Christmas Tree

Last night (a little late, probably...) we took down the Christmas tree. I miss it so much, it gives me a stomach ache. We left up most of the other lights though. Lights are needed.
My friend Daniel McGinn. inspired this poem.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Christmas Tree

1. Childhood is a percentage game,
waking up with my sister and finding
the stockings were full
even the dolls’-
chocolate chips wrapped up like Hershey’s Kisses,
mostly that, but-

2. They fought every year on Christmas tree day,
from the earliest snow-sparkle
all the way to the car.
I can’t remember a single topic,
but their voices like saws
in the front seat,
the flush of adrenaline
as we walked the aisles and chose—
they never once agreed.

3. Pools of light on the ceiling.
Being read The Gift of the Magi.

4. Eddie pulled down the Christmas tree once.
it was caught on cassette tape:
You look with your eyes,
not with your hands.

5. The year we shoplifted every pink thing.
and covered the roommate-tree with all of it.

6. My niece decorating Christmas tree cookies:
Gold to put a star on it, obviously.

7. Glitter on foil, wrapped around construction paper:
it was my job to make the star for the top.
Now it’s my job to write the eulogies.

8. Leave it up at least for all of January.
Take a picture and put it on the desk, year-round.

9. Afraid the cat would pull down a tree,
for year we decorated only
the houseplants.

10. Regularly check
your arbitrary limits:
We thought you had to have children
to have a Christmas tree.

11. A box of ornament hooks.
Leftover cards.
The address book, updated.
Unopened assortment of cookie cutters.
Fresh tablecloth,
fresh sheets.

12. My mother remembers the origin
of every ornament
in eight large boxes.
Your wedding favor,
any keepsake at all,
you’ll find it among the branches.

13. And becoming my mother:
still decorating on December 27th,
determined to leave up the lights forever.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! I, too, love Christmas and the decorations that come along with it. They make everything seem so much more grand and warm and ALIVE. Now my stomach aches...