I remember my body shaking
with excitement on Christmas,
when our parents would wake us
at midnight, tell us it was morning
because our mother was too impatient
to wait for the sun to rise.
My mother spent hours stitching
tiny doll clothes, hiding them
before I came from school,
baking cookies - hundreds -
while we licked beaters, bowls,
becoming nearly sick with sugar and fat
on our tongues but going back for more.
My father chose a tree from our forest,
never one straight and tall, one sideways
and prickly, always anchored with string,
shedding fragrant needles on the floor.
Mama is gone this year, my father is in
but I remember the joyful chaos
of five children in bathrobes
ripping into crisp, bright paper,
the feel of unwrapped books,
cries of delight and the scent of
baby dolls, sugar,
gingerbread, coffee and toast.
For the first time in years,
I will have a tree in my apartment;
my oldest grandchild has come
to live nearby and she will be missing
her sister, brother, parents and their
We will see the Nutcracker, shop for
surprises, make cookies, eat a breakfast
of cheese eggs, orange rolls, turkey bacon.
Perhaps she will remember these
when I am gone, when I am only
a memory on a noisy, joyful Christmas
years and years from now.