Rumaki Under the Mistletoe by Amy Corlew

Rumaki Under the Mistletoe

I came across a photo of us
Christmas party 2010.
Ten Christmas trees later
I no longer can recall your voice.
I recall we both loved the rumaki
offerings from the abundant holiday spread
alongside the cheese dips and crackers.
Clinking together our tooth picked hors d’oeuvres
under the mistletoe.
Toasting each other with holiday cheer and love.
The snow globe centerpiece filled with holiday magic
we pretended it was our very own crystal ball.
I still have the same blouse I wore in the photo.
It hangs in the closet, a ghost of Christmas past.
Occasionally I still make rumaki and drink peppermint martinis.
Your arm around me, wearing the sweater
you bought for a bargain
not caring if you lost the ugliest sweater contest.
Its softness and comfort were all the prizes you needed.
Ten years later
all your clothes have been taken to donate.
The dead do not pack for their journey.
I consider there is another couple around a holiday spread
pretending the snow globe is their crystal ball.
Toasting each other holiday cheer and love
under the mistletoe.
Shopping at a thrift store
a stranger choosing a sweater.
Winning a contest.
No one notices the tiny stain on the cuff from a dropped rumaki.
No one imagines it worn, in another time, by a man toasting
under a mistletoe consumed with love.

by Amy Corlew

Twitter: @CorlewAmy
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Editor’s Note: This poem meanders through nostalgia and it isn’t until the narrative nears the end that the reader realizes grief doesn’t have an expiration date.