Poem for the Winter Queen

by leahatherton13

She’s a home alone for Christmas kind of girl
a never too young for bitter,
rain and flood at Christmas,
a cup of tea and Home Alone kind of girl.

She isn’t big on gingerbread so
she turned her attic into a gingerbread house
put fairy lights in all the windows when the
gumdrop buttons ran out
iced sugar into the frosting on the sills and panes
garlanded liquor-laced berries into
the moss creeping under the skirting and
invited the mice to pull a carriage to the land of Festive
when they declined a seat at her Turkey Dinner for One.

She’s more of a Joni mandolin and wistful
than a Bing and Frankie kind of girl,
the kind who will take the whitest of winter mornings
and repaint it in shades of blue to bring out the cold,
who renames fir trees for ex-lovers
and paints pine cones for their never-had children,
sits them around a peppernut table
heated with a tealight fire,
spins sugar into spider webs and festoons plump puddings
in shades of October,
she’s always been a pumpkin and shiver kind of girl.

She stalks the aisles of Marks and Spencer glitter
trailing spring thaw and thunder
tips a nod to trolley wheels playing at sleigh bells
to wake children, wide-eyed under comforters
listening for Yule arriving
in plastic shine and stutter.

She’s an ivy-in-the-beer and belladonna
coffee kind of wishful,
counting leaves in teapots and coaxing welts up copper pans
marked by flame and temper, she
is a broken-tooth sixpence in the pudding,
a black hand on the gingerbread man kind of guilty.

You will invite her over for Boxing Day, watch
her finger comb through Tia Maria tinted glances
oversimmered snap and sour,
she will turn down the radio at just the wrong part
of a muttered sentence, mute
the relative you sat in the only mismatched chair at dinner
deep in sherry burn and oak-casked vintage resentment.

She’s a wriggle through your bloodstream and hover sugar-hungry
round the table kind of comment,
a conversation you never wanted but invited in
from the cold out of pity,
paints your cats-eye in shades of Joni and scraped ice
from the back of the freezer;
she’s the morning fog waking on the wrong side of a drunk
night alone,
a red and gold paracetomol and good will to all
Bloody Mary,
she’s an acid scrawling coffee shop and
cheap wine heartbreak kind of girl.

She is in the back of every empty advent calendar window,
a cloud bank on the shortest day kind of shadow,
she is what you have been waiting for all year,
she is everything you ever wanted.

Listen, the snow is falling.

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