as you dip the tip of a paintbrush
into canisters of colors
painting three white circles
a green top-hat, black dots for buttons
a tinge of cherry-red, swirly nose
lips brush upward, a frozen grin
and frosted blue eyes
see through both sides
of the storm window.
The snowman reads mom’s angry lips,
“Don’t stop at the bar!”
watches you walk straight to work.
Three squirming bodies dress
in hues of velvet blues, parading
to church where the Holy Family lives.
Onward Christian soldiers
baby Jesus nesting in our hearts.
The snowman’s eyes dripping blue
see you slipping and sliding in dark slush
under Bethlehem’s Star
staggering up porch steps.
We watch the poinsettia
crash on the floor
exposing roots watered in moonshine.
We watch Mom’s lipstick smile
shatter into tiny clay pieces
soil spilling, dirtying our shoes
as we pass through Silent Night.
On Christmas day
mom hoses your art away
melting the snowman
liquid as milk
into the petrified garden.
Diane Guarnieri has won awards, including first prize several times in the Judith Stark Contest and a Mad Poet’s Award for her poetry. She has been published in many literary journals including Philadelphia Stories, Many Mountains Moving, and Mad Poet’s Review. She is a Poetry Editor of the Philadelphia Stories Magazine and the leader of The Philadelphia Poetry Workshop at Voices and Visions Bookstore. She has taught English at Council Rock High School and currently resides in Northeast Philadelphia with her husband and three children.