The tree always went up late at home.
I never had time till school let out
To do a tree. At first the tree was real,
But guilt at killing a living tree
Overcame an urge for authenticity.
And so a substitute, a plastic tree
Unpacked each year, lights strewn
Like spider webs across the wobbly boughs,
Ornaments of plastic, glass, wood, gingerbread
Draped from every twisted branch and twig.
Beneath it, presents slowly gathered and I
Would lie on the couch and watch the lights,
Shining, distorted before my eyes,
Light and warmth offering a shimmering
Illusion in dark winter’s shivering night.
The tree was even later coming down.
Often not till February – Valentine’s Day.
I’d say I didn’t have the time, although in truth,
For me, evening’s reprieve from graceless day
Lay in lying at peace and watching the lights.