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Silver Bells, Heavily Weighted

The ocean is no place for a tree
even on a boat, call it a dinghy if you must,

even decked with lights, even for a print ad,
cover shot at that. All hail commercialism, also

Jesus. My thoughts exactly: a proper send off
might be just what this holiday needs.

Funeral pyre for one, please. I’m trained
in archery and a-frames. Release the bow

to strike marrow, or in this case sap and deeper
into the soul past the tinsel and silver bells

from every year except 1979. Tarnished now. The whales
of memory haunt every holiday, even moreso

now you’re dead. The trucks don’t stop arriving
and you can’t help yourself from screaming

across the kitchen: A capon is not a goddamned turkey
and muttering stupid bitch under your breath

as she’s leaving. Merry fucking Christmas, Dad.
This year the stars will align, literally, a big-business

dream scenario of epic proportion. Gingerbread
house kits are flying off the shelves. Who can resist

the chance: create your own domestic bliss! What’s sweeter
than candy? Hansel and Gretel learned that tough lesson.

Spun sugar windows hide the truth. Grandmother
hid the caramels in the back corner of the kitchen drawer

closest to the oven. Beware the tables turned. Against
the daisy-yellow wallpaper, someone is about to get burned.


Crystal Condakes Karlberg works as an assistant to the librarian in her hometown, north of Boston. Her poems have been published by: Oddball Magazine; Mom Egg Review; spoKe; Rust & Moth.