The Poet Community

Tradition Interrupted | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Jack’s a widower.
His wife died years ago
so every year he takes a plane
and helps his mother decorate
his childhood home for Christmas.
Mom’s getting up in years.

Stringing lights
around the house is
never easy and it’s not easy
hanging the wreath
on the chimney straight
with Mom supervising.
She’s very fussy.

Jack knows he’s too old
to climb a ladder every year
but he’s afraid that if he doesn’t
his mother just might try it.
She did for several years after
Dad fell off the roof and died.
A hip replacement stopped her.

The tough part’s always been
taking everything back down
before his flight back home.
But this year that’s no problem.
Late one silent night,
someone stole everything
even the ladder in the yard.
Next year folks won’t see Jack
up on the roof at Christmas
getting that wreath just right.


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