This poem was previously published in Volume 3 of Otherwise Engaged Literary and Arts Journal and then again in the poet’s book entitled Requiem for a Robot Dog (Cajun Mutt Press) and is reproduced here with the poet’s exclusive permission.
Every Christmas Eve, we had dinner
at my step-grandmother’s house.
She was old-fashioned:
she didn’t keep her TV in the living room.
The living room was for visiting.
So she kept her TV in the den,
guests’ coat collected on the sofa.
I would retreat there after supper,
after the gifts were opened
and the adults were gathered,
talking and drinking coffee.
I would bury myself under the coats:
the heavy wool, the fur collars,
the quilted parkas, the silk linings,
the leather, the scarves;
scents of perfume and cologne,
of cigarettes, a pack of Wrigley’s
in somebody’s pocket;
they would cling and mingle
in my nostrils.
The only light
from the ceramic Christmas tree
on the end table,
the flickering 13-inch.
I would drift off to sleep
in their colors, lulled by
the muted laughter
from the other room,
sleeping and waking to
the celebration of divine birth,
of life in a dead season.