It wasn’t the way you asked me, the twinkle
in your eye or the way the logs flared red
when you crumpled paper and thrust it between them into the fire.
I didn’t stay for the Norman Rockwell child on his sled
running up a hill beneath the snowy eaves, or for the icicles
which hung from your gutters waiting for spring’s shuddering glide.
I thought about leaving, but the glide
of your fingers through my hair made me pause; the twinkle
of the ornaments on the tree, hung with false icicles
and the blinking lights that shone green for go; no, they were red
and that child with his painted sled
changed shape, was restructured by the glow of the fire.
You said, “I’m on fire.”
You said “I want to hold you, touch you, glide
into you like that boy enters the frame of the painting on his sled.”
You said, “Do you see what I see, the twinkle
of the star on the tree and the red
firelight reflected in the icicles?”
I held myself still then like the icicles
while you insisted you were the fire,
melting and hot around me, the red
inside of your mouth; the way your tongue would glide.
I closed my eyes to shut out the twinkle
of the ornaments and the child on his sled.
I hate the Norman Rockwell child and his bright sled
skipping through an eternal world where icicles
never melt, where every snowflake falls, stars twinkle,
and inside his mother waits by the fire
watching him run up the hill and then the endless glide
down to where she waits with cocoa; the mug is red.
When I close my eyes like that the world goes red
like it did when I stared too long at the child, the house, the sled
and I do not think of the way you did not glide
but stabbed, your fingers long icicles
moving through me despite the fire
burning in its prison, despite the lights and their twinkle.
The Christmas lights are red and on the porch the icicles
cling to the eaves; the painting of the boy on his sled hangs over the fire.
I slip out the door and glide into the cold and dark. Real stars don’t twinkle.