i try to throw the letter away, think better of it and throw the the card on my desk.
i wander outside into the cold december air; i'm walking my dog.
with the envelope in my hurting hands, i shred it. and all the while i think,

they don't love me.

along streetlamp streets and tarred avenues i toss my envelope away, shred by shred
my pale face and brown hair is safely tucked inside my hood, brie saunters alongside.
i wander with a frozen face that is frosted with salty drops of wet. and i think.

they don't love me.

the tears aren't painful; they are furious and indignant at the callousness. of people
who call themselves grandparents. i scoff. and i give a dry sob. they are no blood relatives of mine, acknowledge me once a year and be done with me.

they don't love me.

the card sits on my desk when i return. anticipating the abuse i will throw at it.
i crumple it in my shaking fist and read it again with morse code teeth, chattering:
text, wishing you a christmas filled with joy and special moments

they don't love me.

writing: love, grandmother & grandfather
so impersonal, no effort or care. i look at it and feel the starched white of apathy
its so bold in the tiny cross that is substituting for the "and"

they don't love me.

that is not love, grandmother and grandfather, you are not my family
i refuse to be spoonfed your visions of medschool and your carrot cake in a box;
no. no more nutcrackers wrapped in generic holiday paper, i want them burned

they don't love me.

and i don't care anymore.