Rows and rows of conifers

Dart past the window

Each one a riddle

A dream construct

Around which gifts

Are posthumously attached


I press my cold hands

Between my thighs

There’s an ax in the backseat

And a felon with a volatile temper

In the front smoking

With the window rolled down


The air tastes like

Aluminum and cremation

I am excited, cautious

And entirely insurmountable

The numbers on the white signs

Are shrinking along with the wares


We stop at the very end of the lot

The trees are dressed

In disheveled skirts of green and brown

They are beautiful

Stoic even as the blade comes

Swooping down


My father and uncle

Fasten the tree

To the roof of the car

Money exchanges hands

Poverty is contagious

No one suffers alone

Eventually the backs

On which we stand



The tree farm is owned by a family

Incomprehensibly they invite us for dinner

I have no idea if we’re related

They are probably cousins,

I have scores of unmet relatives

All over the city


Their home is modest

As far as I can tell

It’s mostly a kitchen

All the other rooms

Are dark and inanimate

The counter is filled with food

Collard greens, biscuits, fried chicken

Miscellaneous chicken parts

That smell internal


I take a seat and tuck in

Too self-conscious

For conversation

But grateful for the food

And company


This was a difficult write for me as my memories are all very sketchy!

34 thoughts on “Christmas Tree

  1. Even if your memory is sketchy Yves you have succeeded in creating a realistic view of Christmas. So often as we get older memory fades further into the gloom of our past. I think you have done very well my friend.
    Merry Christmas.

  2. Haven’t read anything on your blog in a while…I loved this poem. Brings a little bit of the harshness of the season into play. Love the photo too.

  3. Memories come and memories go but the ones that stay, even if sketchy are pieces of the puzzle called life, our life. Nicely done. Merry Christmas and a Wonderful New Year!

  4. I have a memory of one christmas tree outside in the front yard decorated with lights with an extension cord layed across the floor. I played around the tree, running barefoot until I got caugh on the cord and tried to lift it over my head. 120 volts of electricity running through my body paralized me for what felt like an eternity in my child’s mind. I guess the memory got “burned” in forever. Your memories are vivid at least in your description of them. πŸ™‚

  5. i used to go cut the christmas tree with my dad in the forest…he used to sell them at the lot as well to make money…poverty is…i think often we dont realize we are in it as much as others who look at us…no knowing i think is a blessing…at times

  6. Nothing like a poverty stricken Xmas to give you an appreciation for whatever comes your way. Have a good Christmas Yves.

  7. Merry Christmas, Yves!!! I loved this….as I love all you write! You hold a special place in my heart here at WP. I wrote a poem (my latest). You were in my heart as I wrote it along with the other special people I hold so dear here. I just wanted you to know that.

    I pray you will be well over the holidays. Merry Christmas, again, to you and your family!! xxxx

  8. Wow some great lines ma’am…

    “There’s an ax in the backseat

    And a felon with a volatile temper

    In the front smoking”

    “The air tastes like

    Aluminum and cremation”
    especially vivid.

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