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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – January 23

January 27, 2018

Poem of the Week 01/23/2018

Christmas, 1976

Jennifer Poteet

My mother took our first Christmas tree
and hurled it into the backyard.
The tree was artificial, already decorated
with little red bows.
Dad and I had just purchased it from Korvettes.
We hadn’t yet added the lights.

My parents screamed at each other
near the sliding glass door
of the living room. I don’t know
if it was about the tree, or her being Jewish,
or something else,
but soon all the gift-wrapped presents
were out in the yard, too.

I went upstairs to my room,
listened to records,
and harmonized with Joni Mitchell’s Blue.
I drew ladies’ faces in profile,
and, with each sketch,
made their hair bigger, more outrageous.

The house was Christmas quiet when I woke up.
It had snowed again, overnight.
Both cars were gone from the driveway,
and I could see my mother’s wedding ring
glint on the kitchen counter.

I put on my coat,
went out to the backyard,
and did what I was in the familiar business of doing.
I dragged everything back inside
and tried to put things right.

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