Christmas Mourning
Christmas conjures something in me
I haven’t yet learned the words to describe.

My first Christmas alone altered my sense of smell.
I awoke to a small tree upon my bedside table shedding like incense
the scent of unconditional love. That night,
when my head hit the pillow after a long day of awkward interactions
with strange people who were not my family
it began to smell like tears, and love that only operated
on the condition that you were here.

My second Christmas alone altered my hearing.
I cringed at every mention of a family festivities.
The incessant carols that blasted in stores
somehow amplified the voices in my head that reminded me I was alone.
Supermarket announcements a momentary relief
from the music I could no longer bring myself to listen to.
The Pogues had a feeling this year’s for me and you.
You had other plans.

My third Christmas alone made me lose my sense of taste.
Trifle gave me cottonmouth and pigs in blankets
made me want to crawl out of my skin.
My mouth tasted like metal at the mention of a Christmas miracle
and I began to think trepidation is my new tradition.
Ever since, I’m always hungriest in December.

My fourth Christmas alone obstructed my vision.
Muted blue hues intertwined within the needles of
a lazily-lit cone of green PVC were all I could focus on when
my new boyfriend’s dad called me by his ex-girlfriend’s name.
His family fed me while camping so I felt guilty for crying.
Christina. I thought it quite fitting for Christmas.

On my fifth Christmas alone, I lost touch with reality.
Pine needles feel like tiny swords and
a bauble’s smooth surface reminds me of nails on a chalkboard.
My palms are permanently damp, and I can’t count on two hands
The number of times I’ve tried to remind myself
that family is more than blood. My festive spirit
and my grief run together like salt and snow.

What am I to do on my sixth year of being alone,
when I can’t smell, hear, taste, see, or touch home?

© Jodes.D