Mid December. The first paper narcissus blossoms
beneath the pear tree where one last leaf hangs so dark
and strangely-shaped I go out to see if it’s a lost bat.
Soon the green, swelling oranges will hang
“like golden lamps in a green night,” and soon hills,
which in summer sleep tawny as lions, will wake
and don their grassy coats.
When I close my eyes,
I am a boy playing in snow. When I doze, I ride,
snuggled beneath a thick blanket in a horse-drawn sleigh,
beside the Swedish grandparents I never knew.
Off we go to town, to church on Christmas Eve,
getting out of the house so the Yule Tømte can put,
if I’ve been good enough, not coal, but
an orange in the toe of my hanging stocking.
© by Nils Peterson.
Used with the author’s permission.