Labored with Lights

The cold bites at my cheeks;
My lips are chapped and raw.
Wind is howling, scraping,
Snatching at my sweater.
His little hand is warm
As he clutches my own.
Still he’s an icicle,
But glee glows in his eyes.
We walk, and then we run–
Past the fields of cotton,
Past rows of frosty corn,
Into a lane of trees.
His laughter echoing,
He spins in the darkness.
Astonished by the snow,
Charmed by the stretching pines.
He picks his favorite:
A small, freckled thing
With its half-rotten boughs
And peeling, charcoal bark.
At home we bring it in,
And labor it with lights.
We make hot cocoa,
Sprinkled with marshmallows.
I dab a bit of foam
On his nose, and he laughs.
When our cocoa is downed,
We bundle in a quilt
And sit next to the tree
As Christmas music plays.
And in that moment,
As he sits beside me
Under the lavish glow,
Both of our hearts know peace.

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