from the outside looking in

my Christmas list

this year

is filled with mere things,

because what I really want

and need and what my heart aches for

can never be given again–

-the sound of your voice

-the warmth of your hug

-the taste of the chewy bars you baked just for me

-the gift of your wisdom

-the wonderful stories you told

that we never wrote down

-the feel of your hand in mine

-the secure feeling of knowing you would make

everything okay

-the joy in standing next to you,

warming our backs against the fire

-the smell of the kitchen

when we’d come home from school

after you’d been baking

-the joy of making you laugh

-an afternoon of watching football together

and appreciating those Clydesdale commercials

and getting in trouble with Mama for betting a quarter

-awakening to the sound of you stirring the grits

or making the toast on a cold school morning

-your face being the last I saw at night

and the first I saw in the morning

 

they were the best of times

but also the worst, to borrow from

Mr. Dickens,

because

I didn’t appreciate

those precious,

ordinary moments for what they were

 

a gift, moments that would all too soon

become a memory

 

and now I stand outside in the cold of winter

looking in through the window

at all that has gone before

 

I cannot feel the warmth of the fire

or hear the laughter or smell what’s cooking

or reach out for you,

the lights twinkle but there is a haze and

it is not clear anymore

 

the door is locked and the key is lost

 

some days I stand there and watch for hours–

they never seem to notice me–

but most days I pull my sweater close around me,

turn

and walk away

 

 

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