Andy Eycott, The Silver Tree

The Silver Tree

It sat in the corner of the living room
by the bay, so the sparkle from the gaudy
red, green, gold and blue fairy lights
could be seen from the street.

I never got an answer why the tree
was an icy shiver instead of realistic green,
but I never got answers back then
and at least the lights didn’t flash!

I got to decorate it — never tall enough
to top it with the fairy. An ugly heirloom,
a crude plastic monstrosity with
spiteful eyes and a red slash for lips.

I would spend hours blowing up balloons
and linking paper chains that spanned
the polystyrene tiled ceiling, hanging
crepe paper bells that rang silently.

And it was always about the expectation,
flicking through catalogues making endless
lists of toys that I would never see,
my disappointment always a source of guilt.

Yet the dinner was grand, plates overflowing,
I ate till my belly ached, and however full
of roast potatoes, I always had room
for pudding and cake and chocolate Yule log.

But the best bit of Christmas, just for those
few hours after the clamour of dinner,
the rampage of present opening:
the blissful peace of the yearly ceasefire.

Andy Eycott lives and works in London. He was diagnosed with dyslexia in his late forties and since he has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Green Ink, Coven, Marble, Obsessed with Pipework, Snakeskin, Foxglove Journal and The Ekphrastic Review.

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