December 24, 1959
Daddy bought roman candles
to celebrate Christmas Eve.
My little sister and I knelt on the ground watching.
Each pop and whoosh threw red and green trails
into starlit sky.
We thought it was how he liked to spend Christmas eve.
Mother never joined us, staying inside,
then coming to the screen door
“Come fast, guess who has just been here?”
Santa came and we always missed him
but gathered our presents and drank hot chocolate -
No visions of sugar plums when we dreamed because we already had them.
December 24, 1963
I gave Joe a tiny red book
with poems about love.
He fastened three pins on my jacket
three letters: M, A, and P
my new initials.
We were married three days later.
December 24, 1964
In Oregon, our tree was a tiny Grant pine
cut from a friend's farm.
hung with snowflake cutouts and lacy string balls
I knitted a green sweater,
sleeves twice as long as his arms.
He painted a recipe box
“Good Things You Can Fix”
December 24, 1965
Planning a time full of surprises.
driving four hours on Christmas eve.
Our gift would be an announcement,
Good news faded, pain exploded,
no tree in the operating room, no joy in the telling.
December 24 1968 and 1970 and 1973...
Lights shining in the eyes of a new baby.
Is there anything more beautiful?
What better time to celebrate birth and babies?
Christmas carols make wonderful lullabies.
December 24, now.
We go to church on Christmas eve
Once it was snowing when we came back outside,
something that never happens in South Texas.
We danced in the snowflakes.
Then we came in for mulled cider and tamales.