Christmas in the Pandemic

I

Previously he always loved Christmas.

Night before catch ups with friends and family
who weren’t coming for lunch the next day.

Wrapping the last of the gifts
before putting all the presents under the tree.

Excited children waking up early
eager to unwrap the bundles,
creating mounds of discarded paper.

Buzzing toys, electrical appliances,
perfumes, new clothes,
all types of items.

Breakfast before morning drinks,
roast meats mingling with vegetable cooking smells.

Guests arriving, additional gifts
more drinks plus further snacks,
lunch with all types of trimmings.

Christmas crackers, paper crowns, dad jokes,
stories, laughter, gossip, reminiscing,
pudding with brandy set on fire,
lunch clean up.

Afternoon naps
or a trip to the park with new toys.

The table reset for dinner,
more food, clean up again,
stomach aching from the gorge,
finally relaxing in front of the TV
and nodding off before bed.

Memories of great days.

II

This year, decorations remained in their boxes,
the tree was not put up,
coloured lights did not glow.

Suffering from Long COVID,
dark depression clouded days,
fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, pain,
meant a long lingering sickness.

The virus taking his wife,
Christmas would never be the same.

  • Rob McKinnon lives in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. His poetry has previously been published in ‘Messages from the Embers’ Black Quill Press, ‘From the Ashes - A poetry anthology in support of the 2019-2020 Australian Bushfire relief effort’ Maximum Felix Media, Wales Haiku Journal, Truth Serum Press, Remington Review, Dust Poetry Magazine, Crêpe & Penn Magazine, Poetry Pea Journal of Haiku and Senryu, Re-Side Magazine, Headline Poetry Press, Knights Library Magazine, Vaughan Street Doubles, Wellington Street Review, Sage Cigarettes Magazine, Nightingale & Sparrow Magazine, Black Bough Poetry and InDaily.

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