How to Sleep on Christmas Eve: A Poem

How to Sleep on Christmas Eve

Tonight let us sleep like children on an unmade bed. Sleep at the table with your hand beneath your head. Sleep with your face pressed against the cold glass or on the floor beneath a braided rug, hugging your tissue box, finally consoled.

Sleep through the clocks. Sleep through the television mumbling, the strange plumbing, the siblings arguing their visions and revisions beneath a single bare bulb. Sleep with abandon, your lashes like the fanned fronds of anemones, for you have only just been born forth from the sea. Sleep through the detritus of your dreams, of what you have seen and what you have seemed. Sleep past all you have undone.

Then wake in the long night just barely begun. Wake in the far north longing for spring. Wake, as a child wakes, into darkness belonging, your bare feet the first to tread this gloaming, still miraculously your home. Creep toward the maiden tree, the pagan fern, the glittering and the laden night. Look at this bounty. Love it, as a child loves. Take hold of. Touch. Eat. Do not yet learn that longing is one half of the light.

***

If you enjoyed this Christmas prose poem (inspired by W. H. Auden) you will enjoy Karelia’s third novel Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before

Christmas mantal

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