A four-part poem at déraciné magazine

I had a new poem published (in four parts) at déraciné magazine.

A Christmas Poem in Four Parts

Part I

Winter holidays were 
just around the corner 
and five of us went 
out after work 
We were sitting 
around the fireplace
in leather chairs 
drinking wine and beer 
and our conversation 
splintered from the three 
others and you talked about 
a poem I had written 
and how the vulnerability 
was just too much 
and how others
called it beautiful 
but you just couldn’t 
bring yourself to call it that
and then I told you about 
how I hated the holidays
because Christmases were awful 
and I rambled on about one 
where we couldn’t open 
presents for an hour after 
we woke up because our parents 
were arguing in their bedroom

and then the one where a church 
bought our family presents 
because we were poor 
and I was like, What? We’re poor?

and the moment we got 
off our bus to start Christmas break 
and mom sat us down and told us 
that she had packed our things 
and that we were leaving dad
and we spent a month living in a motel

and the Christmas where my sister
was with me at college in Chicago
and she was suicidal 
and I got her out of the hospital
and I spent evenings with her at the hotel 
during her outpatient treatment 
and how one evening we were watching 
It’s a Wonderful Life
and I started crying at the end 
and I looked over, and she was asleep 
The new meds made her tired 
and I felt alone

You nodded 
and I stopped talking 
and looked around 
at the silence 
and the other three 
had been listening
so I stopped talking 
because I tend 
to share way too much 

Part II

At a holiday party he told me 
that he had heard or read 
that people who overshare 
either grew up poor 
or were not very intelligent 
and that thought hung on me 
like the smoke from the fireplace 
In the car on the way home
I was suffocated by the thought’s smell 
Was I stupid?
I had to roll down the window
And absorb the cold air

Part III

I enjoy the Christmas tree 
the most the week between 
Christmas and New Year’s Eve

That week 
it is free of 
weighted 
expectations
social gatherings 
and anxiety 

Part IV

I write about Christmas 
to fill the blackhole 
inside with something 
other than emptiness
and replayed
worn-out 
conversations

And when I’m done 
for a moment
I feel relief
My sky no longer 
sags and threatens
to fall like a heavy 
curtain on a final act 

In that moment 
I see moon wisps 
that smell like 
cotton candy vapors 
and I taste eternity 
and it sooths my dry 
cracked brain

When I write 
my head expels 
everything in it 
like a shark turning 
its stomach inside out 
purging 
what it can’t digest
                                              
And I start over 
on another line 
Unease wrung
from me 
like water from 
a sponge