Heavenly Host

by Emily Bjustrom

My mother’s deft fingers churn angels out of cloth,
made in the image of little girls-

who’s brows furrow in concentration
as needles dip in and out
of the would-be flesh
of the heavenly host.

That year we pierced cranberries-
fresh and tart-
to string around our tree.
Their juice was pinkish blood-
the smell of which lingered for days.

A soft cloth angel.
The lone survivor
of a Christmas born
of my mother’s sweat.
Her work-
pulling up two wild girls
and a sweet baby boy
with thread and tinsel.

For her, this angel is a reminder
of the weightiness of being alone.

For me, it is a token of her strength-
the shield of a mother’s love.

The most special Christmas-
out of poverty and divorce
an army of angels.

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