“Whitehouse-Greenhouse” by Sammy Vickstein and Anonymous

An exercise in ekphrasis 


Gifts wrapped, tight

arranged under the shapely tree

Candles in every window,

Waving, as if in special invitation

“Here!” They say

Here is peace, joy, harmony

at last


A table laid out in wedding china

set exactly once a year

Glistening fatted birds

Stuffed, roasted, stuffed again

and splitting with abundance


Cedar and holy hung, just so

Framing each scene

as if blocked for a performance

It’s impossible to imagine

anything askew


It’s hard to picture love here too

Any human feeling:

fingers sticky,

floors muddy with melting snow,

mouths loud and happy.  Instead,

opinions left at the door

nothing disagreeable, nothing uncomfortable

Music peacefully tuned and pitched

Automatic, engineered


Silent night

Holy night



Silent night, sterile night

All is calm, without one fight.

Without any warmth to cut the cold.



A glass ornament falls and shatters.


The host laughs, remembers,

years ago, brother breaking mom’s prized



Before anyone can say anything, adds –


Yes, the dog jumped 8 feet in the air,

It was a Christmas miracle


A laughter erupts around the room.

Another miracle.


Sammy Vickstein is a South Sound writer, focusing mainly on poetry and stories. He likes to write about what makes him laugh, makes him scared and what makes him take another breath. And he loves dogs.