Christmas, my boy.

I look at the face

of my six-year old son

and I’m overcome

by the saddest dichotomy…

I will not say

exactly what…

but the notion

that so much joy

and potential despair

lie within one tiny soul

drives me deep into melancholy;

safe passage,

I ask,

of the fates

when these thoughts mount

like so many thieves

looking to rob me

of my foundation.

I am not a productive soul,

but this beautiful boy

is my masterwork,

and i cannot contemplate

any path forward

wherein he does not

exceed me.


My boy

Such a euphoria

this moment,

my son,

desperate for sleep,

but unable…

or unwilling…

to embrace it.

We await

the inevitable nature

of sleep.

And then

he tugs

at my arm,

like a blanket…

such joy!

I lie, as if pretending sleep,

but I must hold back

my emotions

over this small gesture;

he is a trial,

at times,

but then, as it is now,

he is so much more…

… a reward.


I am working
in the back room
of a small grocery store,
not too far
from the restrooms.
A little girl
(perhaps nine
or ten)
returning from the restroom
suddenly hugs
my left arm.
She is scrawny,
and precocious….
She says,
“Hello, fat-boy!”
and grins wide.
I manage to mumble a,
She repeats herself,
her smile widening,
her eyes fluttering.
I cannot tell
if she is cruel
or kidding…
all I wonder
is it wrong
to want to punch
a child?

The reason

Christmas always brings
a strange mix of joy
and melancholy.
Early in the season
I anticipate,
and look forward,
with fondness
and warmth.
As the weeks before
become just days
I find apprehension.
The mood is one
of having let someone down.
I need no gifts,
and the saturation of family
is often too much.
I look,
to the unfiltered joy
in my little boy’s eyes
and see solace.
His enthusiasm is honest,
and unaltered
by the burdens of adulthood.
He has a fervent desperation
for each twinkling light,
each sighting of, “Santa!”
He has returned to me
the unjaded perspective
of the season,
he holds up a mirror
to my prior joy
and shows me
what I had forgotten…
so now Christmas
can be Christmas
once again.