Denuding the Christmas tree is less nice than dressing it up in sparkles and bows.

Being emotionally naked makes those who are more cloaked uncomfortable.

The nude Christmas tree looms sprucely, and the writer lurches with a green pang.


I have a box of bird bones and feathers, tiny blue egg shell, dead butterflies, dried tea roses.

There are piles of wishbones and three or four bird skulls with different beak shapes, deep hollow eye sockets.

I think I started collecting these things to use in assemblages. Gorgeous dragonflies and cicadas. Beautiful beetles. Then feathers and the odd hatched or fallen egg.

The first skull came from a birdhouse in my yard. I found it long after the bird got its head stuck somehow and died, half in, half out of the entrance hole.

The wishbones accumulated from many chicken dinners. A hoard of unspent wishes.



What ails me? Anon. And.

I diagnose: at 40 I fretted; at the bend into 48 I’m nigh unrecognizable. Grown fat and slow with middle age. Chris shot a video at some odd moment of me washing dishes. I came across it on my phone and thought, Who is that woman? 

If only to write as of yore, sans excruciating restraint and parsing. I’d like to say, and know, just what I mean. Like that.

There is of course nostalgia, o, folly. The sheer volume of things and people I miss weights me, clots mental teeth. Perhaps most poignantly those which do not deserve the missing. I crave what’s past with tenacious melancholy. No roses while lived but rouged by distance.

Just so, this time, one day, will feel different, stripped of pain and retouched with the tinge of retrospect. I thrust myself forward in a concise act of imagination to that distant moment to feel it differently, and almost can for a moment. Just a glimpse of forecast hindsight.

It relieves uncomfortable stretches of the insistent present, in which it’s hard to sit still, hard to stand. Aches abloom in joints that worked fine previously. Oil can, squeaks the imagination.

That woman at the sink, remember her? A balloon she may be, yet not altogether untethered. Tugging in the wind.