Waking on Christmas morning, I find white in the corners of my mouth.
“Just a dream,” I whisper to no one in particular.
It was not so long ago, when the visions of you-know-what danced in my head, and I drooled
over their divine
ovum shape — a lake of
Now an adult in bad drag as a child, I want for nothing and everything, walking the tension between
my belief that home is a habit of mind and five years of unshakeable homesickness.
At 10am, I already have an appetite for productivity, and have not yet made much of myself. On a typical day, I know that I am an adult by the way that I make breakfast.
Hot water over old fashioned oats. Cover and let stand for 2 minutes. Chopped apple, cinnamon, and sage in the sautee pan. Honey and salt in levelled teaspoons. Stir to combine.
For today everything is made-ahead, to endow ourselves with the notion of earned leisure. There is more leisure built into my generation’s adulthood than we imagined.
Thereby, adulting is our favorite word. It is a catchall for the small acts of mental and physical fitness, which should just be done but not spoken about; such as calling to make an appointment or taking out the trash.
I know that I am adulting wrong by the story someone’s grandmother is telling me.
“When I was kid, there was no instant oatmeal. Grains had to be cooked for many hours, in water that had to be drawn from a well, and for all that extra effort, they still turned out bland as hell.”
Christmas 2009 was the last one that I spent with my grandmother. What I remember most about her is her deftness with Marshmallow Fluff, a sticky, yet spreadable marshmallow batter that looks remarkably like styrofoam.
It was invented in the early 1900s in New England, where my family has lived for three-odd generations; and went mainstream in the ‘30s, during a boom of new convenience foods that contributed to a significant uptick in leisure time for women.
What would she think of my boredom? I try to sink into the feeling of contentment in sinking my ass into the couch, and therein find a vision of my
bulbs in November. Inside,
beans in the crockpot.
I thank someone’s grandmother for catalyzing this backwards knowing. She thanks me for listening
and, for a moment,
sees me for more than a mooch
of their family time.
Later, someone is chiding me for not saying “thank you” enough.
“You are supposed to be a ‘poet’ why…[aren’t you overflowing with powerful feelings]?”
What power does “thank you” have, anyway, when used like punctuation? Thank you, I didn’t expect anything, you shouldn’t have, etc.
How quickly it evolves to mean so many different things, to so many different people, and then
devolves to nothing.
Now that’s a powerful thought…
Keep it to yourself.
I offer to take the photo so all the members present can be in the picture. They’re grateful for the offer, and I do so as expertly as possible.
This is the sort of connective gratitude that I was raised to express. Silently crafting a spiritual relationship with my benefactors, through shows of understanding and deference to their deepest dreams.
to dissolve into
Christmas, and another year;
this moment, it will.
“Just see if you can understand that there’s another person who has a completely different experience of the same reality.” – Esther Perel
see the moment for
what it is — momentary
glitter, a ripple
in the above-ground pool for field mice. When did they stop coming indoors for winter?
I keep my teeth to myself, behind a closed-mouth smile. It guards a thousand stories of summer lightning storms back East.
A child in bad drag as an adult, I used to pretend contempt for Christmas in July, but
when the sky opened
I danced pirouettes like Sugar
Plum Fairy — in Keds.
Someone needs to go to the store for powdered sugar or else there will be no peanut butter fudge this year.
Later, someone is chiding me like “What the hell happened?”
Everyone looks back and forth at each other while the glorious jar of Marshmallow Fluff sits on the counter.
“This is how we did it when I was a kid.”
Concrete gratitude is when children offer something in repayment that is valuable to themselves rather than the other person, like giving a toy to a parent.
It is a lesser form of gratitude, but it should be understood here in its intention, which is to make an offering of myself.
I want to show them
the ones that set up
the ones that broke like ganache
my dreams — baking.
“The trick is to first stir the fluff a bit to release some of the air. And as the air cools, the moisture within it should condense to form clouds. If it is too warm, the batter will seize into sticky clumps, much like snow when the temperature rises above freezing.”
She is making a special effort to give me
an up-and-down nod
as good as a wink, I think
I’m doing it right.
“Our first White Christmas in 15 years – who could’ve dreamt it?”