Writers Island: Second Chance

For this week’s prompt at writers island

Second Chance

A month ago, it was the focus of the house
tall, green, vibrant
branches reaching for the sky
covered with twinkling lights,
sparkling decorations,
shimmering tinsel.
The littlest child had to touch it
every time she entered the room.
The oldest pretended to be too cool
to be excited by a Christmas tree
but when nobody else was around
would stare raptly into the branches and the lights
lost in memories of holidays past
of treasured gifts
of answered prayers.

Today, it is forgotten
left on the patio, in the cold and the rain
branches brittle, browned and drooping
stray tinsel clinging here or there
and empty peanut shells stashed beneath
by the ravenous squirrels.
The children no longer see it
there, in the corner,
and when the father catches a glance of it
he merely curses at it
got to get that goddamned tree to the dump.
It is finished being the focus of the house
the bringer of joy and light.
It will never be beautiful again.

A year ago, I was the center of the family
wife, mother,
bringer of groceries, buyer of clothes,
tender of skinned knees and bumped elbows.
But beneath the branches that looked green and vibrant
my heart had turned brittle, browned and drooping.
I clung to treasured memories of days long past
to escape the anger and fear and death
that claimed my life.

Today, I have reclaimed my life
I have seized my second chance.
Now I am vibrant and green and alive
and my arms reach for the sky
as I shout and sing.
I’m not too cool to be excited about anything.
I wrap shimmering tinsel in my hair
and wear sparkling ornaments on my ears
and now my smile lights up the room
like the twinkling lights
that once adorned
that goddamned tree.

writers island


12 thoughts on “Writers Island: Second Chance

  1. Thanks, I really like work that looks beneath the surface, and you’ve got a good grasp of line and rhythm. I’m curious though. You got your second chance, but you don’t tell us how. We jumped from “brittle, brown, and drooping,” to “vibrant and green and alive,” in six short lines of fairy godmother magic, but inquiring minds want to know…


  2. Thank you, all! I had great fun writing this one, and though it is rather personal, I know there’s a seed of universality in there.

    For Richard and Paisley, I found that the question you ask cut to the heart of what I really wanted to say. I’d already been contemplating a second post on this subject, probably not for the Island, but simply reflecting on what a second chance *means*. The answer to your question is here – https://hedwyg.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/second-chances-a-reflection/ – and I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

    Peace and blessings,


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