• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 01

Christmas Presence

After the cars, and flowers, and hours
spent in solicitors' offices, are over,
Or after the cards have been sent,
(out of sympathy, maybe, but obligation, more likely)
all that is left is possessions.

Reams and reams of books, thirty-two shelves, cumbersome like geological strata;
where unturned pages and unread lines and un-lived lives
contain little that would have
saved him now.

And try not to look at those calendars,
‘Appointment, 11:30,’ written, hesitantly, among the birthdays and anniversaries;
three or four weeks left
before they expire, too.

Or there's that gift book from a once-loved one,
the product of a rash decision and strained relations,
flicked through in their grinning presence on Christmas Day, 2002, now
just getting some rest.

All now finally resurrected from their clinical storage sleep, gifted with a
price tag, that obscures the title, and a
carrier bag. In green boxes, designed for transporting bananas,
they wait

and wait, and wait; good job they’re used to it.
The price tag is amended,
And, as if on command,


Christmas Presence

‘You can’t take it with you,’ cries some checkout operator,
channelling an ancient grandmother’s mordant wit,
scanning items to the tune of a heart rate monitor,
desolately, into the heat.