1. A Theft on Christmas Eve
The Lord steals my Christmas cheer when he lets a pirate board my porch and snatch its bounty. The only thing I had coming today is lost. Standing emptyhanded on the porch, I inhale ice breeze. My eyes see only snow-dusted wooden planks, fastened together by rusty screws and old cobwebs. My shoes thump only the landlord’s fraying welcome mat.
“Could you not watch one box for me?” I say to a sky filled only with gray.
I slink back into my apartment, cursing the word “Delivered!” beaming from my smartphone. I skulk around. I lash out at old plaster walls, telling them of the pirate in my mind. He or she is a young and feral thing, lacking conscience, reselling my prized package online to someone as duped as me. The pirate is a pathetic soul, a rightfully despised offspring of failing parents.
Sneering up at water-damaged ceiling tiles, I say, “That’s right. I’m talking about one of your other children. So happy I could provide them a bit of sweet holiday loot.”
2. The Candied Statue Rises
My Christmas becomes a statue
greater than the greatest tree:
head of chocolate-covered cherry,
chest and arms of candy canes,
belly and legs of peanut brittle,
feet of gingerbread and brittle.
And such a form can feed
all fancies, all plum visions!—
can wipe away all salt tears,
can leave a trail of sugar on
every cheek, starting a chorus
of giggles the world over,
muffled only by the licking
of sweetened finger tips.
3. A Good Deed Rolls Forth
“See, Lord? I can dream things bigger and better than a god who fails to protect one measly box!”
As if on cue, I hear a polite thud out on my porch. It sounds the arrival of a corrugated cube, formed of perfect squares, housing my sweets. I peek through my blinds to see a familiar face crosschecking the address label on the box with the number on my door. Leaving the box, he turns and trudges back through the ice breeze.
Mistakenly, the delivery worker had left the package at the wrong door while rushing to meet a corporate deadline. Perhaps they had been distracted by visions of vaccines dancing in their head. But a neighbor has restored my Christmas cheer. I watch him strolling down our sidewalk, returning to his house a few doors down. In his wake, a sugary statue’s feet crumble, followed by the dashing of brittle legs and shattering of candied arms. The statue’s cordial filling spreads out as a glaze on my lightening mind.
I ask forgiveness. The gray sky seems to warm, its clouds a welcome insulation. I’m happy to finally have my sweets, but happier still to have a neighbor.
Merry Christmas, Wheat and Tares readers!