if I lived in Seattle

at Christmastime

I’d have committed suicide


a long time ago


it’s bad enough

as it is

each year

over and over again

in Bethlehem,

Pennsylvania

with the steel mills all shut down

and now the K-Marts are too


but I take down

nonetheless

each year at this time

the plaster of paris statuettes

of us,

myself and all the others

that I made


especially the baby


unwrap him from his swaddling

tissues

to place him in the cardboard creche


the other figurines I awake

from their

nearly yearlong

hibernation

place the ducks upon the looking glass


arrange the sheep

and cows

in nestled mute array about

the manger

to make the

perfect configuration

in space & time

just so


(will I get it right

this year . . . ?)


I install

the shepherds, wise men, and

the sundry angels who

remain aloof


while the baby’s fathers

and I

look on in awe


and wonder

can this be me


it happens to

each year at this time


when

I see the pained reminders:


to be put away -

safe

in hibernation

well before Easter


but there’s

Hope

with each new birth

that he won’t have


to commit