Christmas, 2020 (poem)

I wanted to share a poem to commemorate this atypical Christmas, one that for many will be tinged with the pain of loss or anxiety. But, as with all things, our stubborn star keeps shining. We’ll be okay.


all I want for Christmas this year
is to remember the woman at the bakery
who works overnight, kneading dough
into holiday treats for other people to enjoy.
customers fist over cash in exchange for sweets,
wintertime joy flickering in their eyes,
while she, the baker, beats back the fear of a fever,
the promise of contagion.

this poem’s for her.

I want to remember the new immigrant, alone in a new and frigid land,
who fears the long dark night of Christmas Eve,
which to him it is the longest one of all:
alone, he must listen to the clang of cutlery
and the muffle of music of his neighbors.
the whisky will burn and the wine will burn and his tears will burn
and cloud away the phantoms of home,
aching to be remembered.

this poem is for him, too.

this one goes out to those of you
who face the dread of that unfilled chair,
that empty placemat, the ungiven gifts, the mirthless laughs.
it’s okay to be sad, to yearn for yesteryear,
to miss those who did not make it to December,
because the winter belongs to no one
and it also belongs to everyone but the sun,
our stubborn star, keeps shining, no matter how weak it might seem.

this poem, and this Christmas, is for all of you, too.

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