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It’s Christmas, the year before the accident, when the earth
still seemed fixed. My husband and children are hanging
lights on the big pine tree, the one that Becky
brought home as a seedling in first grade wrapped in a damp
paper towel. I am cooking dinner while they struggle
with the wires that somehow knot themselves up in the box.
Shadows gather behind the hills. The tree turns dark green,
then black. The tangled string unravels, and they pass it
around, loop over loop, while I watch from the steamy window:
husband, son, and daughter in a circle around the tree,
their arms full of stars.
Copyright 2005 Barbara Crooker. From Radiance (Word Press, 2005). Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.
Barbara Crooker’s many collections of poetry include Some Glad Morning (Pitt, 2019). She lives in Pennsylvania.
DILSAD SENOL / EYEEMGETTY IMAGES