Christmas Dust (Emilie Collyer)

24 Dec

Early memories the warm smell of

ginger and spiced biscuits baking

decorating them with slivered almonds

and sugar ball bearings


Christmas hymns waft

through the house at night

lounge room glows

with candle shaped lights on the tree


tinkling of painted glass baubles

rustling tinsel

and delicately placed showers

of silver rain


It is the ritual that was magic

not the gifts

their presence bringing more

of a pragmatic joy


When a family starts to fracture

ritual can hold it together

or make the breaking slower

shards of the past slipped under the skin pulled taut


so that – many years later –

wearing the body of an adult

this time of year unpicks what has been slowly healing

exposes the places under scars


that are still tender so now

the smell of oranges and cloves

Silent Night floating through supermarket or shopping mall

presents stacked silver and shiny under a tree


seem all together

heart breaking


it’s stupid, an overreaction

but the shell of adulthood

is fragile like those glass baubles


(we lost at least one a year

no matter how carefully we held them)


once dropped

these delicate things shatter

dissolve into dust



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