12/24

By Raegen Pietrucha

My favorite ornaments distort 
me to an impossible glitter, 
frosted silver slivers.

I still remember winter trees,
how their snowmelt crackled
as if somewhere, a fire already called.

It hasn’t yet been a year. I don’t miss
Midwestern cold. But there was a boy 
in the place I left behind –

he had always seemed impervious
in his thin shirts, threadbare jacket.
But now I think maybe 

he’d been incinerating,
lit from some hidden inside.
Can the heart be enough fuel

to keep any of us warm
for long? A friend told me 
that after I left, the boy went away,

too, for a little while – 
trailed for months, a vapor, 
down padded white Zoloft halls.

If we all eventually run out, endure a freeze – 
if, finally, we’re all left as abandoned 
as annuals by sprung leaves,

how has he not thought 
to curl his frail parts up
like these evergreens, 

still clinging to their last few brittle
needles through New Year Eve’s, 
where my resolute wish

while packing my warped orbs back 
in bubbled plastic will be for all things fragile
to never again see the likes of me?

Learn more about Raegen in her bio on the Featured Author page.

Published by HLWW Featured Author

Featured Author of the Heartland Society of Women Writers

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