Christmas

Author’s note: Sorry it has been a while. It didn’t take me long to fall off the wagon. Ah, well. I thought I would share this poem I wrote for a university class a few years ago. The assignment was to “write about a time when you hid what you were feeling.”


Looking at him, you wouldn’t know
his limbs are giving up — 
like the broken gingerbread man
I pulled from the oven.
I don’t speak
of winter skates and bike rides
he’ll never have again.
I spew Hallmark slurs instead,
“He looks good;
he’s taking it well.”

I wonder,
Why’d they wait to tell me?
The weight of it is no lighter — 
I’ll be the daughter
of a dead man.

Do I pretend not to see
the feebleness in his fingers,
how he fumbles
with buttons and lids?

I am nostalgic for the kid
who’d never even heard
of the disease
‘till TV told her.
At age eight, she asked Mum
what it meant…

“Your mind stays alive,
but your body dies.”

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