Do They Know
After a rendition of Do They Know
It’s Christmas, a third mince pie and one last
Quality Street, I make the children rest;
wrap them in their nests and let them dream
of sleigh bells and snow.
They do not know that I will sit
by the frost bitten window and pray
for the pearls to fall,
so that they can uncurl
on a White Christmas.
They do not know
that when none show I will scrape
the ice lace from the glass
and try to pass it off as dust
from Old Nick's boots.
They cannot then deduce
that it is then reused and sewn
onto the bones of our tinsel;
that it hides the wrinkles in our old
paper chains and powders over the meagre
feast that comes courtesy of the food bank.
They will not know to thank
the neighbours for the second hand
gifts under the tree, or for the three
stockings above the fireplace.
They do know that there's a face
missing, a space that no amount of lace
can conceal. Pearls cannot pay for the time
they need to heal, but for one day, I hope,
they can escape what's real.
Claire Hughes is a Birmingham-born writer who now lives in Staffordshire. She recently achieved her MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and was published in Oxford Brookes' anthology My teeth don't chew on shrapnel.