Christmas in a Snowless City

A spiky door garland, creamed with fiber
snow and sprayed with pine scent, welcomes
a disheveled man who offers to paint
my address on the curb. “So your relations
won’t get lost.” He pauses, sniffs the wreath.
“Reminds me of cuttin’ spruce with my Pa.
Snow thigh-high. Those trees cried all
the way home on the sled. I’d pick sap tears
from the snow. Chew ‘em like bitter gum.”

I give him the $25 because his mention
of snow makes him a type of relative
from my Christmas card past. With
the whiskey breath of a favorite uncle,
he whispers, “I can’t git the spirit here.
Not without snow.” I slip him another $10,
am ready to invite him inside for chocolate,
a stray gift, a discussion of the virtues
of snow, but he pulls out his stencils
and spray cans and shuffles down the drive
to glitter the curb for relatives who won’t
be coming. The paint can hisses. His face
flares briefly in the glow-in-the-dark color.
“Who can believe in snow angels
made of green grass…anyhow.”

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About the Author

Carolyn Dahl is the 2020 winner of the Poetry of the Plains and Prairies chapbook contest for A Muddy Kind of Love, which will be published by North Dakota State University. Her 2019 chapbook, Art Preserves What Can’t Be Saved, was a first place winner in the National Federation of Press Women’s Communication contest, the Press Women of Texas’ contest, and also received an Honorable Mention in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

Carolyn Dahl
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