Like autumn leaves
the years had withered and blown away.
Her schoolgirl dreams had been set aside or
if appropriate wrapped in gay-patterned paper
and placed beneath the Christmas tree of her heart.
She awoke from dreamless sleep
and wondered who she was and where she was,
but the breathing of her husband and the ticking of the clock
reminded her of the person called ‘mother’ and ‘dear’.
Almost as a duty Christmas morn had come again.
Dad would visit today
and search her face for sadness,
for only he would notice if sparkling eyes had grown dim
and if her eyes, when blinking,
stayed closed a bit too long.
Amid a gaggle of restless children
she would nod a deferential nod
and inwardly long for the days when
Dad and daughter sailed the distant reaches
of their bright vivacious minds.
The once-a-year napkins
red and green with matching placemats
were ready for the throng; and the tree,
already bending low from weight of Christmas finery
would soon be gathered 'round.
For the children it was the perfect day,
but for her the conductor's podium was a lonely place.
She knew how fragile such happiness was;
more fragile, thought she,
than the hand blown bulbs upon the tree.
The children were awake!
Excited giggles and the tearing of wrapping paper
meant that Santa Claus had really come!
Yet Santa, tired from another hectic year,
simply smiled and closed her eyes.
© 2009 James Rasmusson