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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,


with the steel mills all shut down

and now the K-Marts are too

but I take down


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


to place him in the cardboard creche

the other figurines I awake

from their

nearly yearlong


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


I see the pained reminders:

to be put away -


in hibernation

well before Easter

but there’s


with each new birth

that he won’t have

to commit