Christmas comes to Maria and Iris and Rosa
waiting for deportation
at the Strafford County House of Correction,
and ninety-seven year old Helen
in hospice who used to jump
with a parachute until she was eighty.
It comes to the beagle who bays at the skunk,
and then is sorry,
balsams and frasiers leaning wrapped
against the fence in the Christmas tree lot,
and many children who also – for some reason —
have not been chosen.
Christmas comes to the shoppers who pause
to listen to the bell-ringing
and put a little money in the kettle.
It comes even if they do it
because a child is watching,
and it comes even for those too busy to stop.
Christmas comes to the man
who mourns his wife,
and to the woman who mourns her mother,
and Christmas comes to the wife and the mother –
differently, of course –
less fruitcake, more angels.
Christmas comes to pageant planners
and the soldier deployed.
It comes to those who those who weep
or shake uncontrollably
at the thought of more nuclear weapons.
It comes to those who voted for Trump
those who voted for Clinton,
and those who voted
on either side of Brexit.
It comes to amateur actors
performing A Christmas Carol
hoping the audience really hears —
they haven’t missed it!
Christmas comes in old words and new ones.
It comes whether we are ready or not;
it comes whether we want it or not;
it comes whether we used to believe,
or try to believe, or are afraid to believe.
Christmas comes with presents and with absence.
It comes as expected,
and it comes as a nearly unbearable surprise.