Christmas 2019

This year, Christmas doesn’t hurt. My family is here. My two uncles are together again; two longtime friends who are drunk and happy. I am not depressed or anxious, just tired. 

Everyone leaves to go party at my uncle’s friend’s house. I watch half of “The Muppets Christmas Carol” and nap for an hour or two. Then I walk over to the other house and pour myself some mead.

Red cheeks in dear winter;
everyone has tequila.
We drive home slowly.

My brother dares Uncle Dean to walk in a straight line. Scoffing, he does so. We go inside. 

I make no frantic offerings to the gods and that feels good. I do not punish myself for failing to offer food or drink.

Faith twists easily —
Christmas is for family,
Spirits like parties.
I can’t call God my father.
I don’t let him call me son.
Goddess in the hall.
Red bows on the old coat rack.
I don’t want to pray.
Has faith brought me anywhere?
I open gifts with my mom.

We drink. We sleep. I’m asleep on the couch and everyone is in bed. Boxing Day means coffee and hangovers. I go home with my loot. I still don’t pray. 

Maybe I lied. 

Christmas hurt a little bit.

[Oliver Leon Porter (he/him or they/them) is an award-winning teacher, journalist, and poet. He lives in Montreal, known to the Iroquois as Tiohtià:ke. He has been previously published in The Link newspaper, Spectra journal, and While he usually drinks tea, he can sometimes be found drinking from the mead of poetry. He will soon be published with the Troth, an American heathen organization, contributing to an anthology about Loki, the Norse deity of tricks, trans people, and shapeshifting. You can find his complete list of works here:]