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Christmas in Featherville

Contributed by Bonnie Dodge Published on 24 November 2021

Editor’s note: This poem was originally published in “Christmas Tales 1995,” a special production of Magic Valley Publishing Co.

Under a full moon frozen 
like a white balloon too high to touch,
fresh snow snaps beneath
our wooden skis.
Stars giggle as they illuminate 
the icy ruts and point the way home.
We want to stay but our fingers fumble,
Forgetting how to hold, when to let go, 
so we turn back. Inside a fire lights
the room rosy and warm 
while a transistor 
radios Noel softly from the loft.
Instead of chestnuts
roasting in the fireplace
we toast hot dogs, sip wine,
and admire the tree
fragrant with gingerbread men,
apple stars, and
transparent orange slices.

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It’s peaceful here
near the end of December,
where the only sound outside is the still
frosted river caroling under
a crystal blanket of ice
until Canadian geese honk overhead.
Earlier, camp robbers nipped 
peanut-buttered pinecones
and black squirrels chattered walnuts
from snow-covered branches
while down the road
elk struggled through
thigh-high drifts to feast 
on Fish and Game hay
delivered daily to this frigid forest.
But tonight, silhouetted against the virgin
snow Christmas lights reflect
on our snow angels.

A red bulb blinks and ice crystals fall
from a cottony sky.
This is Eden, this simple cabin
snuggled between ponderosa pine
where we cuddle and watch like children
as outside a red fox tugs cookies
from a tree, tipping
the day-old-bread star
slightly to the east. Here
Christmas comes more 
than once a year and
the forest resonates 
peace on earth and good will
with each frosty step, like
 the sound of life, beating
and the only present we need 
to unwrap is this day. end mark

ILLUSTRATION: Illustration by Corey Lewis.

Bonnie Dodge lives and writes from her home near the Oregon Coast. Her award-winning fiction, poetry and nonfiction have appeared in several newspapers, magazines and anthologies in the Pacific Northwest. Find out more at Bonnie Dodge.

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