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.