Christmas Dust (Emilie Collyer)

Verity La Heightened Talk

Early memories the warm smell of
ginger and spiced biscuits baking
decorating them with slivered almonds
and sugar ball bearings
Christmas hymns waft
through the house at night
lounge room glows
with candle shaped lights on the tree
tinkling of painted glass baubles
rustling tinsel
and delicately placed showers
of silver rain
It is the ritual that was magic
not the gifts
their presence bringing more
of a pragmatic joy
When a family starts to fracture
ritual can hold it together
or make the breaking slower
shards of the past slipped under the skin pulled taut
so that – many years later –
wearing the body of an adult
this time of year unpicks what has been slowly healing
exposes the places under scars
that are still tender so now
the smell of oranges and cloves
Silent Night floating through supermarket or shopping mall
presents stacked silver and shiny under a tree
seem all together
heart breaking
it’s stupid, an overreaction
but the shell of adulthood
is fragile like those glass baubles
(we lost at least one a year
no matter how carefully we held them)
once dropped
these delicate things shatter
dissolve into dust