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Friday, December 28, 2018


by Tricia Knoll 

I come out today after all these years
enduring an insane itch on my chin, that white
beard. I come out because I’ve sustained
the many children who pee in my lap,
the babies who scream because they know
in the deep part of their animal brain
that smells me that I am a woman,
not a man. The North Pole is melting
so fast that even my water-logged
elves can never make enough toys, those friends
who abhor plastic and tell me it will soon clog
even Arctic waters. I’ve hated the sky-high
tinsel ceiling under which I was called,
that I must present as a man, wear boots
without heels or glitter, must conceal every elf
I carry to term like each is merely a bowl full of jelly
wrapped in red velvet and shredded cotton.
I am Mother of North, old North, the one
that called out sled dogs’ yips, held up green
lights of the auroras, the magnetic pole and true north.
I love my neighbors. We chew fat together
and tells stories over candle bowls. We welcome
the traveler. I started as Nicholas’s lover
under the firs and although he hesitated
to call me woman, he knew. I cannot deliver
for your children any more. The ice caves in
under my runners. The oil rigs are closing in.
You will disappear. I hide for 364 days a year.
Now I hide for the other one to find true
peace on earth, good will toward men
and women. Take care of your children.
I have resigned. That is the word for this year:

Tricia Knoll is a feminist poet who lives in Vermont where the Christmas promises to be white. Where a mink left pawprints in the snow yesterday. She wrote this poem for an old friend who is transitioning to becoming a woman.