While we are having fun with family and friends, eating goodies and opening gifts, please remember those for whom Christmas is a difficult time this year–those who have recently lost family members, those with loved ones in intensive care, those who have no families, no money, no homes. . . those who fight depression and sadness.


Just Before the Dawning


We are no longer required to enter in shifts,

so we congregate in Clara’s room,

where our minds reject


the horribleness of silence.

The nurse, who speaks in staccato whispers,

fingers blond strands of blood-soaked hair.


We remember last night’s storm:

The slicing wind, the freezing rain,

my two gloved hands holding hat to head,

coat to shivering torso.


Having left holiday plans behind—

even December’s bell ringers

with their hungry red cauldrons—

we shed most of our meaningless baggage,


keeping only a book of puzzles and a light

blue umbrella.  We hoped for a dark-chocolate

Christmas.  We remember the ice hitting glass.



first published in JMWW