Gatekeeping (Or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation)

English: Closeup picture of a miniature Christ...

January 4, 2013

Two days after Christmas,
The glow draining from the season,
The caroling voices fall silent.
The tree lights blink mutely at me.


Entering the daily days again is hard.
My husband’s shrill alarm at dawn
He groans his way to the garage
To the refuge of his car before he confronts his day.
And I am again alone
To bear, Atlas-like, the weight of home.


 Downstairs in the afternoon
My daughter, budding in her 16-year-old sexuality,
Sits too close to her new, first boyfriend.
Their intimacy tugs at something in me.
I am unsettled.

At night, my son sneaks from bed
To steal more minutes of video games
Online, with a partner in Finland
Where the day blazes while we (should) sleep.
This is not the first time he’s been seduced into darkness
By the technological siren.

Even the dog, in his wonder of fur
Slinks from the kitchen
Where we’ve given him respite from the rain.
He breaches the firm, invisible line at the kitchen door
Wanting to be with us near the couch.


Here I am
A latter-day Holden Caulfield,
Dismantled tinsel in hand.
I push them back,
Stand firm.
Holding closed that door to freedom for a few years more
Pushing (back) against the boundaries of my heart.


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