Thank you to Tony, who sent this to me an entire year ago.
Oh it’s Christmas time in Omaha Nebraska!
“Almost alive” red lips say through the panes.
His blue eye, his brown eye, his chipped ear.
Wearing a gray wig, missing two fingers,
My father is easily the handsomest mannequin
In the display window at Brandeis and Sons.
At me? His son: JohnJ ? Unassembled I lie
In a crate near the electric train.
See the workers dressed like priests screw on
My head. Lock on my arms. Twist on my legs.
1 am seated in an easy chair. I am wearing
My new schoolboy costume. I hold a new Latin
Book in my hand. A Chicago Bears satchel over
One arm. Yellow pencils in my pocket.
I paste a scowl all over my face.
The “Dumpy Doll” envies my frown.
Father smiles at me. He does not understand
Why the electric train and track he bought for me
Are only a mountain of dark plaster, a flurry
Of dry snow, the thin noise of wheels.
Nor does he understand why the ice skates I wanted
So badly are razor blades across the cold back
Of the duck pond. Nor do I. Fixed
In plaster, I stare. I scowl.
Oh see my hands. Oh see my feet.
Thirteen more days till Christmas.
I stare ahead. I do not blink.
After the new year, they will take us apart.