The Christmas Tree
By Aoife Mannix

Every year she bought at least one new decoration.
Weighed down by her absence,
the angels, Santas, drummer boys, baubles.
Furious that winter one of the red glass balls,
from the first evergreen, smashed.
Inside was silver and reflective,
the fragments of all those years
we struggled to plant a real tree,
the needles eating into the carpet.
It was the beginning of her defeat,
the Xmas we went plastic.
The flat too small the excuse for our tiredness.

Yet that very last time,
we had finally learned to be kind to each other.
She couldn’t eat the turkey,
and went to bed while we played poker.
We knew we were going to lose.
Now we deal in silence,
trying to pretend
there are still forests covered in snow,
where the tree we were meant to have,
is shaking proudly in the wind,
and stretching it’s green towards an open sky.


Aoife Mannix was born in Stockholm of Irish parents. She grew up in Dublin and New York, and currently lives in London. Her poetry is a bittersweet look at the chaos of life and love. She celebrates the confusion of the world we live in, finding humour and hope in the power of words shared.

Her poetry has been published in the anthologies Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry, In Our Own Words and Gargoyle as well as several magazines including Global Tapestry Journal, Inclement, Cadenza, The
Affectionate Punch, Poetry Nottingham International, Voice & Verse, Breathe, Fan The Flames, The Black Rose, The New Writer, First Time, and in the e-zines Poetic Express and Snakeskin. Her poetry has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 4, London Live, and the BBC World Service. She is currently the Farrago London Slam! champion. In 1998 she was awarded first prize in the Dr Marten's New Writers Competition. Places she has performed include the Edinburgh Festival, the ICA, the Tabernacle, the Poetry Place, and the Battersea Arts Centre.


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