The First of December · Francine Witte

and holidays coming fast. The air is sweet with pine and smoke. I get hungrier by the day. If only Harry hadn’t left me last week, but now the sweet air is tangled with it.

All I did was blink, and he was gone.

It went like this: wedding, introduce him to my friend Cheryl, never see him again.

And now, it will be part of the holiday season. When I bite into a cookie, or hang a needle-y wreath.

My other best friend, Lil, the one who didn’t steal my Harry, says I should have followed the advice of her psychic.

“I didn’t know your psychic,” I say.

“Yes,” Lil says, “but she knew you. And she told me this was coming.”

I ask Lil why she didn’t tell me. I can’t follow advice I know nothing about.

She says a secret is like a holiday gift. All wrapped in shiny paper and do I really want to know what’s inside?

I want to say yes. I think of what would have happened if I knew in time. I want to say all this, but Lil is looking at her watch. “Time for cider!” she says, and do I want her to add some cinnamon?

I think about Harry, and Cheryl, and psychics and Lil, and everyone knowing everything. Except for me.

I take a sniff of the piney air around me. “Surprise me.” is all I say.

Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks, two flash fiction chapbooks, and the full-length poetry collections Café Crazy (Kelsay Books) and the forthcoming The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books) Her play, Love is a Bad Neighborhood, was produced in NYC this past December. She lives in NYC.