A Christmas Story

Sandra Isbell Wiley Carlson Sandra Carlson Sandy Carlson


Sole survivor

Of attic summers under the crushing weight

Of kept yet cast off and not so cared for


This plastic snowman

Was the greeter in the winter scene

I grew up with every Christmas

On Mom’s mahogany end table

That Dad had antiqued pea green in the 60s

After plucking it from his and Mom’s apartment fire–

A smiling totem

In the cotton batting snow,

He stood as tall as the Tudoresque

Churches and houses erected  from die-cut cardboard

Past which two of three magi made their way to the tiny

Triangular manger,

A slow march as the pink- and green-clad wise men

Moved from BC to AD on their three-legged camels

Toward the creche

Where Mary and Joseph knelt alone in their adoration.

The plastic Jesus disappeared long ago,

Though we replaced him with imagination

Enough to imagine and know there is more to the story

Than Santa Claus.

The promise of salvation

Emerges from the detritus

That makes a story that makes sense

If you put the pieces down

And see it whole:

Where we are

Where we have been,

How we keep it.

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