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This Year, This Christmas

by Lucille Waters Younger
This year, December's erstwhile teeming streets
deserted, quieted and numbed.  Low-spirited carolers,
tone deaf from too much background grief
strain on notes too high, their stricken vocal chords
stretched thin, distorted by the weight of sobs and 
cries that whistle through the soul's land's end.   

No frenetic, silly energy, this year. No childish
impishness propelling us past grownup worlds that we create
but manage yearly to escape into Christmas fairylands of joy,
improbable, but possible  "can do" secret webs that children spin,
impossible but probable, worlds where right is right, good
guys always win and wrong is wrong, but never insurmountable.

Tentative the hue and clip this year, this Christmas; a gray-scaled, downsized
winter wonderland timed oddly in slow motion with faces stretched taut and grim, 
stippled smiles on lonely canvasses waiting to be painted in
with colors from the ghost of Christmas Past:  A little red and green, perhaps
some blue for skies seared gray. Some white for snow, black splashed
across a silent, holy night and spangled stars not dulled but bright.

This year, this Christmas season of togetherness, we find ourselves
alone, despite the crowds formed since September, waiting in a line that never ends. 
We herd, touch elbows, share shaky breaths while trying to exhale, 
attempting to replace mayhem with candy canes and sugar-coated magic.

Let guns melt into mistletoe and cement graves entwined
in mounds of twisted hate, spring fountains filled
with love, requited and renewed.   No fear. 
Let faith restore the hope that somehow and somewhere this year, 
this Christmas will miraculously appear.

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