Trimming the Tree (1989)

After I set the tree in its screw-eyed stand by the bay window, I have to re-train the dog. It makes him think he’s outside. And then I decorate with costume jewelry and lace nipped from bustier tops and bodices. That night, Sara calls from the desert.

“Problem?” I ask.

“You sent me the ornaments by mistake. Where are my clothes?”

I’m cutting white doves from her nightgown as we talk. Her neighbor is a weaver. He made her a blanket last week. I guess they talked for days, and ate pineapples.

My neighbor is a quality wood distributor. He gave me sawdust.

Later, I move our old bed beside the Christmas tree. The fir is whirling with secrets: brassieres snapped like Greek symbols for infinity, cranberries on G-strings, a shimmering pair of dancing shoes where David’s star should be.

The deerhound sleeping at my ankles stirs. Him, such a restless dreamer, digging-up, burying anew. He nudges part of Bambi’s hock to my chin, as if wanting to play a new round of give-away, and take-back.

I do.


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