Christmas Eve

— Charles Albert

Surviving five long weeks of hype
that reached their pinnacle tonight,
and not just in the malls and shops,
but in the nerves of our three tots

who took so long to get to sleep,
we’ve spread the load beneath the tree.
The plate of cookies has been left,
a sooty footprint on the hearth.
It always feels so fleeting, lacking–
tomorrow’s flurry of unwrapping,
the chocolate binge, the first new quarrel,
the newness of each toy, that dwindles.

We sit beneath the winking lights,
in the transience of these nights,
and know, one day, we’ll be alone.
They’ll soon enough be gone and grown.

Like our own folks when we were small,
if we give any gift at all,
it’s some dim memory of this time:
something magic. And sublime.

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