A Carol

How we pined for colder
months that meant relief
at last from summer’s scorching;
and for mornings when we could wake
to the small marvel of seeing
our breath rendered like script,
visible, exhaled into the frosty air
out on the porch— And how we rejoiced
at never-to-be-repeated pleasures,
like having collected the right
number of bottle caps to flatten
on the gravel driveway with a hammer, punch
holes in their hearts with a pick then string them
with a bracelet of wire to make a sound akin
to tambourines— And they were just
the right thing for those dark evenings
before Christmas, our scraggly, snot-nosed band
going from house to house in the neighborhood,
quavering faulty carols learned
from the radio, waiting for the doors
to open and the gifts of coins or sweets,
or better yet to be invited in.

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