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Saturday, December 26, 2009


by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Does the tinsel swaddling itch? The molded plastic magi are big
but not scary, except Balthazar. Does his left eye wander? Have you
been blinded by the tiny lights? With the tree so close, does pine pitch
fall on you? Doesn’t it smell good? Did you get a cookie? They
disappeared from the plate. North Pole gifts wear different paper.
What did you ask for? I hope it wasn’t a dog. No one ever gets
a dog, even if it’s all they really want. Are you allergic to peppermint?
Sachets? Oranges studded with cloves? Do you smear divinity
on hives? Could anyone mistake an electric candle for a flame? Do
you like the little children as angels with aluminum foil wings? Do
you prefer halos? Which is your favorite Yuletide carol? A lot of them
make people cry. Why weren’t any women helping Mary? Were they
baking? Were they wrapping gifts? Who does the baking and wrapping
at your house? What was your best gift? Was it your idea for divorced
kids to split the day? Can a man in a light-up vest ever look dignified?
What does your dad wear? Have you ever read “A Christmas Carol?”
You seem so far away, like an old-fashioned ornament out of my reach.
Would you like a bite of this hollow chocolate Santa twinkled with
sugar soot? Please answer me.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske's fourth book of poetry Dominant Hand is now available from MayApple Press. She teaches at Kellogg Community College and runs the annual Poems That Ate Our Ears Contest in Kalamazoo, Michigan.