Winter Joy by Juliette van der Molen

Winter Joy

your eyes glow to challenge
the brightness in the steady
warm whiteness of lights
on a Christmas tree,
this year— our tree,
a tree that will reappear
next year in the same home
for the first time ever—
like a miracle.

i’ve pinched each penny between
threadbare fingers and crimped every edge
for the boxes and bows,
even homemade gift tags this year
that made you giggle
as you shake them
with no one to tell you
‘don’t touch’—
not this year.

skate blades shine bright
as your wide smiles and for once
your teeth won’t tuck in tight,
you’ll be like all the others
just as if you’ve always belonged.

though they’re big because i’m
sure i can’t afford them next year,
but you both giggle when i
double sock you and wrap
your necks in red & white knits,
my matching maple leaves.

i watch from the car
where you can’t see—
an afternoon, stolen like a thief
that i’ll pay for later.
my reward: your school books
chucked in the snow, laughter
skittered over ice, brand new,
like i’ve never heard before.


Juliette van der Molen is a writer and poet living in the Greater NYC area. She is an intersectional feminist and a member of the LGBTQIA community. She is a contributing editor for Mookychick Magazine and author of Death Library: The Exquisite Corpse Collection (Moonchild Magazine, August 2018). Her work has also appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Burning House Press, Memoir Mixtapes, Collective Unrest and several other publications. Forthcoming books include: Mother, May I?(Animal Heart Press, May 2019) and Anatomy of A Dress (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2019). You can connect with her on Twitter via @j_vandermolen.


Our JustGiving page is open for donations to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – no amount is too small if you feel moved to support.

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