by Alyssa Stadtlander

It’s Christmastime again and I crouch on the stairs of your cottage
nestled in what feels like the dead
center of the snow-less naked prairie, watching you
peer out the checkered curtains you left open. You’re looking
for the fawn you spotted yesterday, camouflaged in the eternally
brown landscape. As if you forgot to go to sleep at all,
you’re planted like an evergreen
at the kitchen table in your flannel pa-ja-mas
(always savoring the middle syllable like black coffee
and the drawl of dark chocolate, at first bitter
and then just sweet enough). A vase of yellow Texas roses
grace the middle of your table like a beacon, the beating heart
of the world you’ve crafted. I can almost touch
your soft, thick-veined hands but I don’t dare
move a muscle. Instead I breathe you in
a moment longer under the glow of your forest
of twinkling trees, while you
lean back in your antique wicker chair and it moans
softly, but only just, as you glance again
out the open window for the fawn
as if you know for absolute certain she’ll come back,
like your favorite kind of Christmas miracle.
Until then, you wait for me to patter down the stairs,
alone in the kitchen, humming.


Image by Ali Ahmad Danesh via Pexels