December, 1938

for my grandmother

It is a party for their new year,
all champagne flutes and white teeth.
The house is spacious, and Christmas
still squats in every corner. A plastic Santa
grimaces on the doorstep, its cheeks
an unnatural pink. Beatrice circles
the room, makes small talk with coworkers.
She will not approach the tree. It towers
over the party, draped in tinsel that glints
like broken glass, blocking a wall of bay windows.
The room crackles and spits like a burning
building: all that holiday cheer, the piles
of presents, the Son of God. The clock
ticking down. Beatrice tries to keep her breath
coming steady. She sees Christ
hanging bloody from the tree, his head
wreathed in thorns, a swarm of pointing fingers
all aimed at her.