A cold gray sky followed me home.
 Like the town crier, the weatherman
 had shouted warnings of coming snow,
 but I try not to worry  
 about things I can't control.
 My head ached from lack of sleep
 and the changing barometer,
 so I closed my eyes to dream it all away.
 I woke to find the snow softly settling on the lawn,
 glimmering in the holiday lights strewn down the street.
 So it begins.
 A pretty picture I study through the window,
 cuddling a cup of cocoa to warm cold fingers.
 I'm sure children bubble with excitement
 as the probability of a snow day becomes sure;
 it doesn't matter that they had months
 filled with days off from school and  
 the end of year holidays start next week.
 A day off is a day off.
 There are some, I'm sure,  
 dreaming of a White Christmas.
 For a few quiet moments I ponder  
 the pretty picture in my mind—
 watching snow fall outside the window,
 the perfect backdrop to the tree  
 twinkling with years of memories,
 as carols play the soundtrack to the season.
 But I am old.
 The beautiful snow globe bubble bursts
 with thoughts of how many inches will fall,
 and will the power go out during the night
 when the brunt of the storm is due to hit.
 I wonder how much shoveling will be required,
 and hope my aging body will be up to the task.
 My phone shouts that I have a message.
 An old friend's mother has died,
 complications from pneumonia and Covid 19.
 Another name on the casualty list  
 of this hideous year that seems never ending.
 The difference is this is a name I know.
 A woman I have laughed with,  
 a woman whose Christmas cookies
 I have eaten and enjoyed.
 A mother, a grandmother, a secret poet,
 and she is gone.
 My heart aches
 for her daughter
 and her granddaughter.
 I know that pain too well,
 there is nothing to ease it
 except time,
 and time seems to have stalled.
 I look out the window
 watching the world  
 being buried in white,
 and weep for the lost,
 those whose names I know,
 and all the ones I don't.
 I pray peace will come soon.

RIP, Joan Mangan, December 16, 2020

~Elise Skidmore ©2020

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