traditions

a maple-glazed ham
yes, with mustard!
instead of the turkey
(no sense in a bird
with just the two of us)

and perhaps too-fancy
French piped potatoes –
in little whorled peaks
instead of the sugary,
too-sweet pile of yams

even the pie this year
will be something new –
pumpkin with a spice
I’ve never used (enough
and more for just us)

closing in on middle age
and still I find myself
stumbling around traditions –
finding or making them up
as I push through the years

and for the day after,
a tree like no one else’s
will gleam in silvers
and blues while I hang
two hundred tiny beads

and all the while dance
to Ladysmith Black Mambazo
like Santa isn’t watching
and be grateful that this year’s
new tradition is you

© Sarah Whiteley

small thanks

a thousand miles from family
these empty shelves my only company
over a dinner of reheated noodles
still I give thanks
for finding the strength to hold me up
to carry me through this chapter’s end
for the courage to begin again
and for the heart to hope for better days

© Sarah Whiteley