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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,
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

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