Half Drunk Muse Poetry


Christmas Tree by Lyn Lifshin

It was all I wanted then and now that I can have one,
I just think of the trail of needles, water spots on the
floor. But in the apartment, lights strung across Main
Street. 78 records near the Batell Block’s loud speaker
and the shadows of ruby and emerald on snow that was
so much like a calendar scene Life Magazine was
always there photographing the white Congregational
Church spire, the bells always 4 minutes late. Presents
from out of town were the most mysterious, there
on a table my mother covered with crepe paper
that looked like bricks. My father’s sister gasped, “You
mean you hung up stockings? You really had a tree? You
call your father “Ben?” until we were sure we were heathens.
My grandfather, sly and sneaking around, might climb
up the stairs to the apartment, come in with his own key.
Still, one December we had a small tree, on the table. A
Hannuka bush my mother called it with rings of pastel colored
paper, tinsel, nothing too angel-y and certainly no star. It
was green as spring in the flat my mother never fixed up, hoping
to leave for a new house. It smelled of outdoors, of hills and pine I
loved from Girl Scout hikes where we slept in bunk beds listening
to stories. We had no lights or glass bells on the tree, needed
to be able to quietly snatch the trunk and plunge it into the
closet hearing my grandfather’s steps but it seemed, with the
lights inside off and the tinfoil balls and dripping silver near
the window, we had stars inside, sparkling as in the sky

View bio for Lyn Lifshin Published in Summer 2004

About HDM

Half Drunk Muse was one of the first poetry ezines. It was founded in 1999 and ceased publication in 2006.

Questions/comments? Email samiller@halfdrunkmuse.com.