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The collie, fur grayed and patchy, ambles away from his house,

Ostensibly bound for nowhere in particular,

Knowing only that it is that time, his time,

And, as he wanders away for to await that last solitary purpose,

Lopes past a pock-marked and rust-patched single-wide,

Occupied by a young woman (a girl, in truth)

Nursing a newborn, child whose father

Is one in a wide range of unpalatable options.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

 

They walk, the residue of some boy meets girl

Along the quiet main street of an equally quiet town,

Utility poles garnished with benign, contented snowmen,

Low-hung five-pointed auguries strung with tinsel,

Brobodingnagian candy canes swaying rhythmically in the wind.

They have arrived at the unspoken yet mutually understood conclusion

That they have taken their particular accident of birth and geography

As far as such a thing may go, yet they walk hand-in-hand,

Fingers intertwined, though tentatively, in some interim rationale.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

 

On a hill above town, there is a rambling yet low-slung edifice

Multiple-winged single-story octopus of a house

Well  appointed though sparsely and diffidently decorated,

More hotel than home, decidedly transitory in form and function.

In one of the rooms, dimly lit with little ornamentation

Save a Charlie Brown-esque tree squatting forlornly on a bureau,

A woman is reading softly, almost mechanically,

As if it is a story she has read out loud countless times before,

To a man who is heeding, perhaps, though it is clear

That the act is more essential than the words on the page.

They have a daughter who would be there,

Sitting in a chair or on the edge of the bed,

Hands clasped, though in service of or supplication to nothing tangible,

But she is home with her toddler, a whirligig of a child

Who has found some hidden presents

And is tearing away the wrapping from the boxes,

Laughing unrestrainedly as he showers himself

In a red-green-gold ticker-tape maelstrom.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

 

 

 

 

 

(Submitted, though a bit late to the party, for Kim Nelson’s terrific Toad prompt.

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4 Comments

  1. So happy I returned to check late arrivals!!!!!

  2. What I love about this poem is the way the narrator leads the reader through the town from the aimless dog, past the failed lovers and into the homes. These flashes are scenes we may recognize, one way or another, and they ask us to pause and contemplate the human condition and the plausibility of Christmas.

  3. you find the unseen ache and bring it into sight. ~

  4. there’s always horror lurking around the north east corners; turns me into a shortstop-on my toes.


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