December Again by Ona Gritz

December Again

December again,
the radio given over
completely to carols.
My son complains,
Not everyone celebrates
Christmas. We switch
to CDs. Outside, Santa
dances the twist in a storefront.
All around us, the pine and lights.
Two weeks early,
we bring out the menorah,
read the Maccabees’ story
which, of course, he loves.
We’re underdogs and warriors.
A miracle keeps the candles lit.
He gets a present for every
day that it lasts.
How can the birthday
of a long gone rabbi
compete with that?
Still, I catch him looking
with longing at those bejeweled
trees suddenly everywhere.
After all, he’s seven and he’s
not invited. And it’s the biggest
birthday party of the year.


Ona Gritz’s new collection of essays, Present Imperfect, is out now from Poets Wear Prada. She is also the author of Geode, a Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award finalist, and On the Whole: a Story of Mothering and Disability. A longtime columnist at Literary Mama, Ona’s poems and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, The New York Times, River Teeth, The Bellevue Literary Review, Brevity, and elsewhere. Recent honors include two Notable mentions in Best American Essays, a Best Life Story in Salon, and a winning entry in The Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2020 project.

Two Poems by Maria Berardi

December, Cutting the Tree

Shadows on canvas of snow
dancing, eye-catching –
winter’s flowers.

No matter how brilliant the sunlight,
in the cold under the trees
night holds its own.

We bring the spruce home
because it carries this darkness:
a green nearly black.


Winter Solstice

Despite the word’s meaning,
the sun does not stop
though we do, into nameless dark:
Here’s the reminder.


Maria Berardi’s poems have appeared online, in print, in university literary journals, meditation magazines, and at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities. Her first book, Cassandra Gifts, was published in 2013 by Turkey Buzzard Press, and she is currently at work on her second, Pagan, from which these poems are excerpted. She lives in Colorado at precisely 8,888 feet above sea level.