The Grace of Holiday Illness

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In this busy season
of hall-decking, shopping
windshield-scraping, visiting, and baking—
a cold that settles
into the chest
to rumble
cough
hack
and wheeze,
slows the days enough to
feel the hair
of a red-headed boy
under my chin while watching Elf
and to host an early pajama party
to ring in New Year’s
on East Coast time.
On the year’s first day
we had no need for black-eyed peas,
and simmered instead a pot
of chicken soup to soothe and warm—
our bowls overflowed with luck already.