Bookstore Poem #444

The power went out in my neighborhood this evening.

With the grate wrapped up
the way it is
it’s a miracle
the parking lot hasn’t turned
into another suburban lake
with generic condominiums
built around it on all sides

But the crying child on Santa’s lap
isn’t going to let anything happen
until she gets satisfaction

She doesn’t like the flash
and it’s already dark outside

You should be prepared to wait awhile

* * * * *

A few of the vents are blocked
that must be why
the lake is taking so long to drain
water is not used to waiting
so the queue has become unmanageable
the surface all a-ripple

Santa’s helper is a cross
between a town cryer and a clown—
not so visible, but her voice carries

And she’s never satisfied—
Can’t you put your arm around him or something?

You should be prepared to wait awhile

* * * * *

My feet are going to splash
as I get into my car
that’s what I get for parking
right next to a lake

I can’t even say I didn’t see it coming

The room has gone quiet
Santa and helpers are drinking coffee
in between cries of petulant youth
and adults gone infantile

Santa doesn’t really sleep, does he?

At the very least
you should be prepared to wait awhile

* * * * *

It is again navigable
where the lake used to be
but the neighborhood is now
flooded with darkness
unsteady on its feet
buffeted by the storm

Camera flashes and Santa are nowhere to be seen
the only cries I hear come
from the espresso machine by the entrance
I suspect the helpers
have packed up and gone home

I, on the other hand
should be prepared to wait a while

(14 December 2018)


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