Olga Dermott-Bond, Ghosts of Christmas Past

Ghosts of Christmas Past (A Golden Shovel)

Snow is falling / All around me / Children playing / Having fun

Shakin’ Stevens, Merry Christmas Everyone (lyrics by Bob Heatlie)

My mum arrives, unpacks ghosts from her suitcase like snow.
I said I didn’t want anything this year, but my living room is
a flurry of spirits. I have no space for them, my cramped days falling
into wet ground of slushed silence, but they set to work, slide all
the furniture to strange places, fog windows, hum carols, shift around
in their Sunday best clothes that smell of sage stuffing, haunt me
with dusty boxes from the attic. They are everywhere. My children
ask me why my smile is an empty jar. Spectres tune my radio, playing
a crackly childhood theme tune when I try to sleep, so I’m having
static dreams as they seep through walls, asking why I’m not any fun.

A fixture of our annual Christmas suite, Olga Dermott-Bond’s first pamphlet apple, fallen was published by Against the Grain Press in 2020. Her second collection A Sky full of strange specimens was published by Nine Pens Press this year. She has won a number of poetry competitions including the BBC Proms poetry competition. Originally from Northern Ireland, she lives in Warwickshire. She is a teacher and has two daughters.

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