The field sparkles with Jack Frost.
You say it’s snowing
and I haven’t the heart to tell you
it’s not, not yet anyway.
Of course you can’t remember
the last time you saw real snow,
you were only a few months old.
I held you up to the window
and said, ‘See that white stuff,
they’re called snowflakes.’
You started laughing,
a real proper little laugh
at all that reflected brilliance.
Yesterday I tried to cure your hiccups
with peek a boo surprises.
Distracting you with visions
of imaginary butterflies
then shouting to make you jump.
You liked this game so much,
you wanted to try it on me,
to see if you could make
my boo boo disappear.
I seemed so startled
by your enormous roar,
you were confident it had worked
and insisted on checking.
Your voice suddenly small
as you said, ‘No, it’s still there.’
Mastectomy scar sadly
not frightened away
by your best jungle lion.
Still I tickle you as I tell you
maybe we can make a snowman
for Christmas, a magic one that talks,
and all our faith in miracles
is completely restored
We walk into the magic land
of steam engines
and Father Christmas
sat in the corner
of an old fashioned carriage
with doors that slide shut.
Not the Orient Express perhaps
but there are sword balloons
and stickers and Thomas the Tank Engine
puffing home as the light fades.
Two little boys who believe
In the power of reindeer,
the whistle of The Fat Controller,
the wonder of time travel
as the world rolls by the window.
The chocolate countdown to Christmas.
The gynaecologist asks me
how high my pain threshold is.
Another little lump. Another biopsy.
Another probably benign,
but my faith in probably
has been profoundly shaken.
I no longer believe
when they open me up,
it will be all silver ribbons
and the crinkle of wrapping paper.
I worry that I’m not on the right list,
that they don’t know where I live,
that my letter has been lost.
Then I remember you saying
you’d take me to the North Pole
and we’d drink hot chocolate all the way.
I need to hold on to that kind of magic
when the rational arguments
of surgical options
threaten to shine brighter
than the silver tinsel
of what you’ve diagnosed
as the best Christmas tree ever.