by Valerie Hess

A tired Christmas season is waning.  
Early lights and tinsel were not strong enough
to withstand wolf winds of grief and loss.
Material things crumbled under the weight of isolation.

A small tree that had brightened a home
now stands disjointedly in a garbage bin -
a youth, waiting an ignoble ending 
instead of living majestically in the forest.

The sight roots me to the ground.
Sorrow: this feels so wrong!
But what can I do to redeem it? 
In suburbia, trees make trash, not compost.

Plastic inflatable decorations
lie crumpled on the frozen grass.
Empty of enlivening air, they mimic the depression
permeating my neighborhood.

I ponder a now lifeless display.
Devoid of an enlivening spirit myself,
I shed tears for the tree, for myself,
For a pandemic world.

Overhead, stars twinkle joy.
I remember a recent conjunction of planets,
and a now-distant comet
that left stardust in my eyes.

Valerie Hess is a musician, author, poet, retreat speaker, mother, and grandmother. She and her husband currently live in western Montana.

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