First Christmas Post Husband Mortem
In the deepest darkness of the year
I drag myself from embered hearth
to bundle against death’s cold
and gather with the other crazies
somewhere near midnight
on Christmas Eve
in the cavernous tomb of a sanctuary.
Alone in the darkness with strangers,
I listen to the bleak midwinter song
and am not warmed by the brass.
I should have stayed home in my grief.
There is no joy to the world for me,
and the angels someone else has seen on high
do not sing to me--not even second-hand.
I can’t seem to find myself in this story anymore.
Perhaps I’m a shepherd who stayed behind, forgotten.
So I sit resigned,
a dark lump wrapped in shadow.
Except that . . . here I am--
in worship with other hazy figures
huddled in muffled hope.
My neighbor carefully lights
her insignificant candle
and holds it aloft for me to light mine.
I, in turn, hold forth my unsteady light,
for another to light his.
The exchange pricks holes
in our enveloping darkness.
Together we stab our flickers of hope
into the silent night
like ancient people keeping
wild beasts at bay with torches of fire,
wide-eyed with wonder that it works.
We watch the Light gradually break forth
with the singing of the age-old song.
And suddenly I find myself found.
© 2011 Tess Lockhart. All rights reserved.