Christmas Stalkings

last year I drove to IKEA and bought a Christmas tree
spending all of 3 minutes sizing up flattened specimens
wondering briefly just what it was I was searching for
years past up in Cold Lake my brother and I ran out
in winter darkness dragged home a splendid spruce
from the middle of a nearby field close by the creek
dropped just minutes before from Sikorsky sling
because my chopper-pilot father had found it that day
and chopped it down in the bush
powerful beam of searchlight on our house
alerting us to his trophy as if we couldn’t hear
the wup wup wup of rotor blades just above
other years beyond Calgary I explored cut lines
with surveyor friends carrying mandarin oranges
and Baileys in hot chocolate
for eating and drinking under the trees
(evergreen canopies not yet beleaguered by beetles)
we chose perfect pines in sudden winter warmth
Christmas tree hunting took on a different point of view
one recent year when my twenty-something son decided to give
his Australian mate a lesson how it’s done in rural Alberta
they packed along a shotgun made a video for YouTube
shot their tree down from five feet loaded it onto the truck
drove home with the deer whistle on just in case
and my son’s happy to say though he loves that land Down Under
and lives in Indiana he calls Calgary home
drives north listening to Paul Brandt echoes of Gordon Lightfoot
Alberta bound

~ Joanne Underwood

Joanne Underwood is a recent empty-nester who maintains a home base in Calgary. There she writes poems about family to share with her sons, thus keeping family stories alive and in an interesting format. She is indebted to her wordweaver friends for their advice, commiseration, shared laughter and inspiration.

“I write my poems in order to leave some part of me and my story behind for my children. I wrap myself in the memories and enjoy getting them down on paper. Family and friends play an important part in these poems. Where would I be without them?”

Read more of ‘s poetry:
Homeland Security

Editor’s note: This poem is from Home and Away – a sequel to the bestselling Writing the Land (2007). Look for one poet to be featured each day as Alberta poets ponder the question “what is home?” and explore our complex relationship with working on, living with, exploiting and protecting our land and our home. For more information about the project, click here.

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