Christmas is a Black Coat

Christmas, 2007 / No. 19

Christmas is a black coat with many pockets,

and smells of moths.

Any second it’ll flit to the lamp, throw itself against

the light, make crazy shadows, and scare you.

Or it’ll idle, alone in the street, its many hands discomfited

in its pockets, waiting for a bus or taxi to take it home.

It might watch, with interest, kids gung-ho over the

first snowfall, who, with their backs, imprint the bodies

of angels, predicting some future fall. It will see wings

snapped clean like a kid splitting pencils.

And the black coat will shake the chill off, like a

tree shedding needles,

but unlike the tree,

which leaves a skeleton,

the black coat doesn’t leave such a mark,

and seems all the more comforting.