It’s officially the beginning of The Season. This year, I’m challenging myself to write a piece of prose poetry for each of the days leading up to Christmas. This is week three — for days one through six, start here, and days seven through twelve, here. Check back for new ones regularly, and let me know your thoughts!
13 | The Marketplace
At the furthermost edges of the square, the flowerstalls burst with winter blooms — delicate heather and nodding pansies and bright yellow stars of fresh-scented jasmine. Through the tight-twisting aisles, the rest of the market beckons, tables crowded with porcelain and metal, canisters of tea and beeswax candles, cakes and vases and potpourri. Despite the winter chill, the crowds have descended, and though we keep our distance, our excitement hums through the air.
14 | Christmases Past Part II
Afterward, Christmases are spent in other people’s homes. Aunts and cousins, friends and their families, all of them open their arms to me. One season, I cross the continent in a sleeper train to observe midnight mass in Warsaw, tour the frozen marketplaces until my feet go numb from cold, join Christmas dinner as the thirteenth guest, taking my place at the setting meant for passing strangers. The next, I visit a friend at the edge of the Austrian alps, warm my hands around mugs of gluhwine, and join his family for shots of schnapps and liqueurs. I drift, alone and anchorless, yet somehow, every Christmas, I find a place.
15 | Migrations
What if, instead of the cold and dark, we basked ourselves beneath the light of a summer sun? What if, as soon as the air began to bite, we fled and made our way to warmer climes? What if we did not tie ourselves to this piece of land, these four walls, this familiar shore? What if those borders meant nothing? What if we wandered where we wished, following the light, with no thought to spend on visas, passports, tickets, baggage? What if we simply migrated like birds?
16 | Winter Flowers
Heather lifts its buds even in the chill winter winds, tiny florets of purple blooming beneath the frost. Primrose petals still unfurl beneath the ice-steel skies. Poinsettas flame bright around doorways and garden gates, though the violets have only just now started to wither. While everything else dies, the hellebores bloom. Even here, in this aching darkness, there is life.
17 | Snow
In the heavy gray clouds, the threat of it lingers. In the edges of the chill, tiny crystals begin to form. The rain comes down, misting and delicate. It needs only the slightest shifting of degrees to turn it into snow.
18 | Lights
In every window and over every door, the twine of greenery and lights shines bright. Beneath the eerie cold of the gray-setting sun, they twinkle to life, glittering and shifting by whims. Above us, the sky is blank, a dark quilt heavy with the threat of snow. But here, down below, in the cold and dark and gray, the night is alive with fairylights and bells. They cast their glow on our faces. They brighten even this lingering dark. Tonight, the heavens are empty and all the stars are here.