top of page
Abstract Objects

Two Poems
by Desiree Remick

Handwashing

Baked Apples

As we set up the wooden tree, I joke that instead of needles, we’ll be cleaning up splinters come January. The house smells wrong—no pine pitch or evergreen freshness, only the dry decay of paper ornaments. At least the lights work. Red as pomegranate seeds, they spill reflections into the frosted darkness. We decorate to Nat King Cole and the Winter Revels, dance badly and toast each other with steaming mugs of wassail. I get so nostalgic this time of year, remembering hours spent threading cranberries into a jeweled chain or trespassing in deep forests to select a tree, lashing it to the sled, hauling it back through knee-deep drifts. What happened to those days? They seem close enough to touch, yet simultaneously as distant as the stars. Now, our tree complete and presents placed, we bake apples and smile as the air fills with cinnamon. Merry Christmas, you say, and we fold together like puzzle pieces, my head beneath your chin. Outside, the moon polishes snow to diamonds.

As we set up the wooden tree, I joke that instead of needles, we’ll be cleaning up splinters come January. The house smells wrong—no pine pitch or evergreen freshness, only the dry decay of paper ornaments. At least the lights work. Red as pomegranate seeds, they spill reflections into the frosted darkness. We decorate to Nat King Cole and the Winter Revels, dance badly and toast each other with steaming mugs of wassail. I get so nostalgic this time of year, remembering hours spent threading cranberries into a jeweled chain or trespassing in deep forests to select a tree, lashing it to the sled, hauling it back through knee-deep drifts. What happened to those days? They seem close enough to touch, yet simultaneously as distant as the stars. Now, our tree complete and presents placed, we bake apples and smile as the air fills with cinnamon. Merry Christmas, you say, and we fold together like puzzle pieces, my head beneath your chin. Outside, the moon polishes snow to diamonds.

As we set up the wooden tree, I joke that instead of needles, we’ll be cleaning up splinters come January. The house smells wrong—no pine pitch or evergreen freshness, only the dry decay of paper ornaments. At least the lights work. Red as pomegranate seeds, they spill reflections into the frosted darkness. We decorate to Nat King Cole and the Winter Revels, dance badly and toast each other with steaming mugs of wassail. I get so nostalgic this time of year, remembering hours spent threading cranberries into a jeweled chain or trespassing in deep forests to select a tree, lashing it to the sled, hauling it back through knee-deep drifts. What happened to those days? They seem close enough to touch, yet simultaneously as distant as the stars. Now, our tree complete and presents placed, we bake apples and smile as the air fills with cinnamon. Merry Christmas, you say, and we fold together like puzzle pieces, my head beneath your chin. Outside, the moon polishes snow to diamonds.

As we set up the wooden tree, I joke that instead of needles, we’ll be cleaning up splinters come January. The house smells wrong—no pine pitch or evergreen freshness, only the dry decay of paper ornaments. At least the lights work. Red as pomegranate seeds, they spill reflections into the frosted darkness. We decorate to Nat King Cole and the Winter Revels, dance badly and toast each other with steaming mugs of wassail. I get so nostalgic this time of year, remembering hours spent threading cranberries into a jeweled chain or trespassing in deep forests to select a tree, lashing it to the sled, hauling it back through knee-deep drifts. What happened to those days? They seem close enough to touch, yet simultaneously as distant as the stars. Now, our tree complete and presents placed, we bake apples and smile as the air fills with cinnamon. Merry Christmas, you say, and we fold together like puzzle pieces, my head beneath your chin. Outside, the moon polishes snow to diamonds.

BIO

Desiree Remick (she/her) is a student of creative writing at Southern Oregon University. She is passionate about learning, adores her family, friends, and house plants, and has never met a form of writing that she did not immediately want to try. Her debut short story was the runner-up for Kallisto Gaia Press’ 2020 Chester B. Himes Memorial Short Fiction Prize. Her work has also appeared in the Nude Bruce Review, Unlost, and the Ekphrastic Review. You can connect with her on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/desiree-remick-writes/.

Fifteen years ago, I went to a reading

by the former poet laureate of Oregon,

who had written a poem about his wife

washing her hands. That’s all. I thought

it was the worst poem I had ever heard. 

Where was the human greatness and 

frailty, the ideas that would change

the world? Instead I heard the musings 

of a man watching the woman he loves 

rinse soap from her skin and pat it dry. 

                                     ~

When my partner washes her hands, she

count to twenty, silently. If anything stops

the count, she must start over from the 

beginning. Sometimes she counts for me, 

too. This began with the pandemic, when 

twenty seconds of handwashing became

the first line of defense. We scrubbed after 

every touch, followed up with antibacterial

wipes. I wonder if the poet’s wife now cleans

her hands the same way, all these years later. 

bottom of page