Marie Louise St.Onge
It’s time to remove what has grown into an overstatement
despite its simple beginnings when you mindfully,
with each in-breath, placed each white light on the intended branch
just before the snow fell and the temperature dove to a lower
more chafing number. When you consciously hung each angel and bird,
and all of the dreams from that year, a fair distance apart.
One a gift in ‘52, the next in ‘54, then one from ‘57,
others scattered throughout decades. Their wonder still calling,
their stardust still falling.
It’s time to wrap each of the memories away, to lay them
one by one onto an imperfect sheet of tissue paper
and with every fold breathe a goodbye just as gently
as putting a child to bed. It’s time to set them into the box marked Christmas
where they will wait in an almost forgotten musty place
for three seasons until near the end of this new year when we begin
the ritual again. And who will arrive for that next celebration, who will
be with us still, who will be gone – wise men, an uncle, a brother,
Mary, dear friends, nieces?
It’s time to give the tree back to the forest where it can offer,
one last time, a shelter of sorts through long blustery nights
where the few strands of tinsel still holding on will refract light
just the way we remember the star – a perfect glint in the night sky,
night of marching toward Bethlehem, the Bethlehem of fable,
the story that wants to keep telling itself, the story we want to believe.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds, when thoughts of
a childhood unscathed settled in, and then just as quickly
away they all flew like the down of a thistle, like something not true.