The photograph is sepia-toned as if it should be displayed in a fusty old museum. But there is a golden, honeylike aura, too. My son, his head thrown back, laughing, looks up at my mother, who goes deep with him; she has known wordlessness. Together, they are sibylline, trading secrets. Uncle Joe, hands in his pockets like a middle schooler, smiles awkwardly. My niece, nine, looks down at my son in his wheelchair like a sleepwalking girl who sees a vision of her future as a warrior mother who will someday know a savage love for her own boy.

Christmas Poem


Jesse Cooper





The woods

As we look for

The perfect tree

We leave a piece of 

Silver for the wood sprites

The decorations are in storage

We dust off all the ornaments

Dad spends an entire day stringing

Together popcorn and cranberries

I’m happy to have Dad home this Christmas

The tree’s spine is crooked like mine and Mom’s

Stan’s homemade ornaments are placed on the tree

They hang on the branches like rings on fingers

Colored lights beat out white lights this year

This is our Charlie Brown Blue Spruce Christmas Tree