Cinnamon Stick Christmas

It’s more than tradition

More than the garlands wound around the railing in the foyer,
And on the hearth, and in the window boxes,
Greenery creeping in from outdoors, allusion of pine

More than twinkling lights woven into each room
And candles peeking out into the darkness of wintry nights
Through frosted window panes where your breath makes tiny circles

More than snowmen in every nook and cranny
Smirking up at you, peering out through miniature wire rims
Casually declaring winter’s reign, flooding the season with
Comforting, pillowy, fluffy rolls of holiday bliss

It’s the cinnamon simmering on the stove
Its aroma filling in all of the empty spaces
That her love hadn’t quite reached yet
Intermingling with scents of hot cocoa, egg nog, and vanilla
Not an inch of our home untouched by her attention to detail

Joy is in the garlands
Glimmering in the lights
Smiling through the snowmen
Sneaking into the perfect perfume
Of a cinnamon stick Christmas

written in 2008 for my mother, Joy

In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m posting a poem a day in April. Since April saw fit to fool us with another near-frost this week, let’s skip southern spring sentiments and travel back to New York where it’s probably still cold anyway. If you’ve ever visited my parents’ home in the winter season, these stanzas should elicit sights and scents associated with even sweeter memories, warm against the back drop of a Syracuse snowfall, if only because Mama Joy had her hands in it.

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