Poetry and Lights 2022

Silent Night


by Rosalie Sanara Petrouske

A few lights have dimmed 

on my little artificial tree— 

yet in my mind 

they still burn brightly. 

Under their glow, 

I carefully hang each ornament, 

think about a Christmas past— 

fragile baubles from my mother’s youth—  

a blue Mercury glass bell, spirals,  

spheres, a crystal angel, a tiny drum. 

Candlelight and hopes, 

silver tinsel strung, glistening 

on that fresh cut tree my father 

pulled through the woods 

on a sled.  


When the moon cast  

shadows across the snow  

that Christmas Eve, I pressed 

my round child’s face against 

the windowpane, looking 

for magic, and saw silhouettes 

of three deer on the hill behind 

our cabin—a buck and two does. 

They watched tentatively,  

turned their faces toward me. 

Moonlight stroked their backs, 

and though I could not see 

their eyes, I felt their fear. 

When I bumped against   

the glass too hard with my chin,  

they bounded away, pausing 

for a moment to look back. 


Everything was still beneath 

the stars then, even the cottontail 

rabbit, who hopped away, 

with his loping strides made 

no sound.  


I turn back to my own room— 

another time, another place, 

a much older me.   

There is no moon out tonight, 

everything dark and noiseless, 

only the twinkling  

of lights from my now 

decorated tree.  


I feel a wisp of breath, 

a quiet touch on my arm— 

perhaps, my mother telling 

me it’s time for bed, 

but when I look, no one 

is there. 


And I am lost between 

then and now, between 

that silent night and 

this one. 


Rosalie Sanara Petrouske is a a professor of writing at Lansing Community College, a 2012 finalist for U.P. poet laureate, and the author of “Tracking the Fox,” First Place winner of the 2022 Poetry Box Chapbook Competition, judged by nationally celebrated poet James Crews. “Tracking the Fox” will be released Feb. 1 and can be pre-ordered through Dec. 31 at thepoetrybox.com.

<<< ‘Let’s spangle’: Our 3rd annual Poetry & Lights Issue

<<< Meet the writers behind this year's Poetry and Lights edition


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

Connect with us