Frost and a beard in the stars

Dad’s beard is like

a Christmas tree

except it smells

like orange perfume,

not pine and wood and glitter.

I grew a bonsai Christmas tree

small enough to put in a jewelry box

once. I draped it with a bracelet

instead of lights. We run bracelets of flashing music

over each other like sets of footprints

in the snow: oh the traffic is terrific!

and the cars wrap like a bracelet

around the city. Read Mary Oliver until I get carsick;

by that time we’re in Bangor, Maine.

I like to build up the Christmas tree,

wrap it up in scarves and scarves and scarves.

I twisted scraps of wrapping paper through the branches once,

but Mom took it down. Dad’s beard

is like twists of wrapping paper.


My little brother fell asleep

from all the chocolate he ate,

curling into himself

like balled-up wrapping paper.

The sweet starship of his joy

had zoomed off into the universe,

but he woke again

when Grandma started to sing

Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer.

When I joined in he said I was ruining it,

angry as the sunshine grinding into the pavement,

but soon drew his voice up the staircase of hers

and let me slide words in between theirs.

I carefully took our voices from the ceiling

and braided them into my hair.


Bear will sit at her desk

and polish the covers of her new books,

snake her twitchy acorn necklace in a circle

around them. She will see that someone has snipped

the frost on the window into paper snowflakes. The frost

will sing. A browning pile of wrapping paper

will sit at her feet like a dog.

It’s always useful to keep wrapping paper scraps;

they make good stocking stuffers later.


If I traced the stars,

they would make a good thank you note.

The sky is sinking.

My heart dances

like melting snow.

This poem was written for the We Write Poems prompt Holiday Advent Poems. 


9 thoughts on “Frost and a beard in the stars

  1. Gorgeous! I love how the theme of wrapping and ribbons and even tangling runs throughout the whole poem…and I especially like the line “the starship of his joy”. You make some great connections between the different images in this piece. Have a wonderful New Year.


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