Sooner or Later, I Always Do

Of course, we know it’s all optional.
All of it.
No one will ever die

from lack of carefully chosen presents
or from not attending
that ugly sweater party at work.

It’s acceptable to skip this one
this year
or every year,

and many people, of course,
unavoidably feel the festive tide
but do not participate

because it’s not their religion
that has been made a national event,
or because they just can’t stomach it

for one reason or another.
Sometimes I can’t, either. Sometimes
I have to shut my eyes against

the mistletoe and holly, the entreaties
to buy, or even to feel certain warm emotions
at a certain time.

Sometimes I can’t quite rise to the occasion,
or I can, but only belatedly,
and I arrive late to the party, just as

everyone else is winding down:
So, did you get all your shopping done?
At times like that, I sometimes find

a pocket of cool, fresh air, like a pair
of cardinals, say, eating berries,
or a single snowflake that strikes my glove.

And I’m not prepared then, to say it’s nothing,
or worth nothing. I don’t know why I celebrate,
but I do. Sooner or later, I always do. So far.

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2 thoughts on “Sooner or Later, I Always Do

  1. complynn says:

    This!
    It isn’t only Christmas that gives me pause, but I do sometimes wonder at how anyone manages all the hoopla. This summer I lost my mom and right now the front porch is pulled down after discovering rot, and for some inexplicable reason, I am playing carols at full volume in the house. Who knows the heart?, I suppose.

    • I’m very sorry to hear about your mom. 😦 My mom died in the summer, too, five years ago. I remember that first Christmas without her being pretty tough. And it’s amazing that the drudge-y part of life, the porch rot and all, still goes on. I’ll be thinking about you.

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