Winter Haven Holiday

By Samantha Schmidt

Twinkling lights wound around the railings
in this place of wonder, enchanted by the
scent of fresh-baked gingerbread and
the tinkling of ladies’ voices like
distant bells across a snow-white field.
Magic was afoot, perhaps tucked away
in the branches of towering evergreens
or drip-dripping from the ice sculpture-
a willowy figure bearing a beribboned
parcel, doubtlessly bursting with love.
I peered over the lace-trimmed tables
on tiptoe; thirsty eyes drinking in
a gleaming model train surrounded
in a glittering cotton snowstorm.
You tugged at my hand and we wandered on.
The magic was routine to you.

Past wreaths of pine and rich red holly
you strolled, my tiny wrist in your grasp,
your colored heels clicking with each stride.
Graceful and chic, as always, you introduced me
to ladies neither you nor I had ever met.
You were lovelier than any silly ornament
and I your unquestioning admirer.

The whirling snowstorm had subsided
and it was time to take leave.
Mittened hand in gloved, we strode to the car:
our not-so-elegant Impala.
My brother and aunt took their place at our sides.
Minutes later, there was a terrible crash
and the wonder died.