Emptier than Empty

Handel’s Messiah

swells in my living room.

Colored globes

glisten from my tree.

Christmas blooms

like daffodils in spring,

but still emptiness

like a tumor grows.

From an old LP,

the gentle strains of The First Noel

flood my mother’s living room.

Paper hearts with m&m’s inside

hung from her tree.

The green tablecloth with a red felt bow

made with her own hand.

Rhymes she wrote

on green and red packages

when fingers were nimble

and cognition was keen.

From thousands of miles away

my persistent recollections

mingle with Handel

in an empty stillness

while a family who never knew

my mother

inhabits her house.

The bench in her name

is all that’s left,

anchored across the street

in the park

that shepherds a faded past.

First published online in Avatar Review August 2019