You see them still up in January
as the days struggle to push the light
past four o’clock,
snow clouds like balled rags
soaking up spills of blue and pink
from the afternoon sky.
An unseen hand flips a switch
and for a moment it’s early December.
Cars zip home with trees twined to their roofs,
and the local donut shop
serves hot chocolate
with peppermint shavings in curls of cream.
It may only be a single bush
strung in front of a single house
on a long, darkened block,
but those white lights—gold, really—
are just enough to get you through
the salt and sand, slush and freeze,
George Bailey and the town of Bedford Falls
caroling “Auld Lang Syne”
in the drums of your frost-nipped ears.