Two days after Christmas, my neighbors
carry out their stiff tree like a dead body.
They peer around to see if anyone is watching,
then heave it into the dumpster meant for garbage,
and walk away, pine needles littering
the path like a trail of crumbs.
The last time I saw you, promises
dropped from your mouth like glowing orbs.
You held my face in your hands as though
lifting strands of pearls and precious coins
from an open wound. I spilled out
onto your fingertips, my body, a white flag.
This morning, I am startled
from my grief as a flock of geese turns a corner
around my neighborhood, calling to each other
in flight to stay in formation. Staring ahead
with such conviction, they do not see me alone
in my house, with all of my raging questions.
I check once again, the faceless clock.
Imagining my skin made of tinsel, I burn a canoe
into the trunk of my dried out Christmas tree.
Rowing in circles around my house,
I collect your cigarette butts in a pretty box
the way a mother saves her child’s baby teeth.
They hold up in the unrelenting absence
better than you would guess.
Joan Glass holds a B.A. and M.A. from Smith College. She is the child of a Korean immigrant mother and an Irish/Polish, American father. Her poems have been published in TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, Literary Mama, Decades Review, Up the River, Bone Parade, Easy Street, and Right Hand Pointing, among others. Her poem “Bathing Scene” was featured on the Saturday Poetry Series: Poetry as it Ought to Be. Joan has work forthcoming in Rise Up Review. She lives near New Haven, Connecticut.