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My Santa Claus

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I. Captivity

Victims of the wintry night, your features are blurred obscurities, but even through daytime’s absence your curious aura allures. As you position yourself on my Tuesday night bench—the area must be foreign to you—the surrounding air (it is colder tonight, more hostile than usual) seems to slightly soften. Peculiar. Instinctively, I stare; darkness renders impropriety oddly acceptable. Blank. Dazed. Detected. Face jolting forward, I forge a vague gaze to little avail. You sense me. And yet, not a word. But what is your name? Moths to a fire, my eyes drift leftward once more; darkness, it seems, curbs restraint, as well. Why are you here? This night, this hour? Where have you come from? What is your name? Your silhouette sinks into its seat as winter winds steadily slow. Forgetting tact entirely, my unconscious study proceeds. Still, the cold air calms.
I unzip my ski jacket.

II. Apathy


He lived alone.

Wallowing, plummeting, lifeless into armchairs and pillows.


(orange-stuffed, imprints ingrained in their seats)



Coating them, remnants of pizza crusts from frozen afternoons
congealing into ice-like ghosts.
Here is the sustenance for rats too weary to care.


Fleshy sides compressed,
he grunted towards the television; it snowed that night

silvery shards, winds, gusts sounding smoothly in bleating white surges
“Stupid set.”
But apathy drowned out even the fiercest of storms.

His focus shifted.
Am oafish arm reached sideways towards the nightstand
returning, prize in hand, to two thick lips


and he devoured.
Snow still deafened a small, tired mouse as his host

proceeded, vacant, deaf to truth.

Apathy drowns out even the fiercest of storms.

III. Discovery

Your frame is strikingly large, your stomach far exceeding a natural mass. Bloated contentment. I smile, if shyly; you remind me of Santa Claus. Santa Claus, bringing hope to children’s hearts, warmth to wintry nights. My eyes adjust to the darkness now, and I see your features more clearly. Your pitch-dark eyes disagree with your hair (which has grayed, I think, but particular shades remain difficult to discern). None of your features are markedly distinctive. Nose: plain. A slight bump interrupts an otherwise level build. Cheeks: broad and round, though slightly discolored by the severity of the night’s cold. Understandable. Chin: considerably strong, emphasized by a bushel of curly whiskers. Lips: pink and full. Though wilting at their corners, your eyes cheer silently at the night. (Eyes to hair, lips to eyes: Santa still, if strangely inconsistent.) They smile at a bench parallel to ours. Quite audibly, you yawn—roar, more accurately—as your eyelids resume a continuous battle versus gravity. They quickly prevail. I’m hardly surprised.
An imposing arm arises from its alcove behind your stomach to reveal a brown paper bag in a clenched fist. You reach in with the opposite arm to retrieve an oversized sandwich, but darkness shrouds its contents. You must be hungry; it is late, and the night grows tense.

IV. Priority


He licked his paws,

trying to salvage the pieces


of roast beef entangled in a grayed, wiry mess that



plastered thick lips and a chin, when

Knock.
Knock.
Disruption. Why now?
Unattached, he unlocked, but doubtless unwilling to

understand the intruder.


She was beautiful:



a diamond swallowed by an unkind sea



of violence and crime that drowned the stoic to silence.
—chapel down the street. Its children—
Unconcerned. Half of dinner awaited
—small donation. Anything helps—
and apathy drowned out even the loudest of storms.
—save a life. Please, sir, we—
Tonight was no exception, no.

Mice in dusty corners whimpered at a door slam
as Ignorance resumed his position.

Ignorance of icy nightmares and

electric blizzards whirring and


pizza crusts freezing and








V. Reality


Your sandwich sparks my memory: I, too, need to eat dinner. I open my Jansport and search for the chicken salad I purchased earlier today.

VI. Irony


Your etiquette was astounds me. As you eat—even in night’s blackness, where no one can conceivably judge you—your manners appear virtually flawless. I envy you. You make me smile.

VII. Abandon



he conceded to his abandon nonetheless.
Knock.
Knock.
Insistence—that was ruthlessly ignored as

apathy liquefied, unified with pillows that thickened into ice.
Knock.
Knock.
They grew urgent now, but inside Ignorance cringed.
A television snowed, shrieked; he
never planned to fix it

(Shrieking snows woke the boy next door


—monsters, Daddy, monsters!—

terrified cold of nightmarish frosts or death)
Knock. Or stand or act or
Bam.
mice flail

Ignorance jolts
echoes dread



where to look?—came from the doorway: open
and down he stared

and stared



at her burst interiors gliding across his stoop
the stains were permanent everywhere and


apathy was silenced.

He shut the door and melted the snowstorm with vigor.

VIII. Hope


Damn!

Jerking at my whisper, you turn to me; your voice is rich and heartfelt. “What happened?”

I respond, but do not look at you. I can’t find my dinner. Guess I left it somewhere.

“Want the rest of my sandwich? It’s roast beef.”

I smile to the night. My Santa Claus is generous. No, I can get something at a deli. Thanks, though.

“Hey, I didn’t do nothin’ to it, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

No, its fine. I’m fine.
“Just tryin’ to help out. Been doing…a lot more of that lately.”

Yes, and I smile; yes, wider still. Of course.
I look down at the cement for a lingering moment, and when I peer in your direction again, I realize that you have gone.





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