mom and i on christmas

the train was empty

but for mom and i.

i leaned against her.

mom closed her eyes.

 

we rode in silence.

neither saying a thing

about the christmas season,

or what santa brings.

 

my mom was all i had.

i had no toys or friends.

our home was hidden

where the traintrack ends.

 

the train passed lights–

red, white and green.

the train passed homes

with christmas trees.
i wished there’d be

a christmas tree

for mom and me.

 

the train’s power flickered.

mom sat upright.

i said, ‘we’re ok, mom.

it’s just the lights.’

 

she held me close,

i nestled closer still.

i felt warm tears

begin to spill.

 

my jeans were wet,

my shoes had holes.

my hair was dirty,

i was awful cold.

 

then the train

began to slow.

when we got to the end,

it would be time to go.

 

an old man climbed on,

he was a well-dressed guy.

he wore a grey suit,

and a bright red tie.

 

he sat down alone,

he also looked tired.

he carried large bags,

that i coyly admired.

 

there was a coat in one,

a small tree in another.

he smiled at me.

i looked at my mother.

 

“merry christmas, young man,”

said the old man to me.

“i’m proud to see you have the gift

of love in your family.”

 

i remembered his face

from pictures i’d seen,

when he vanished

from the place he had been.

 

he’d left his bags,

with tags,

for mom and i.

 

*note: this story is a contest entry for susanna leonard hill’s 7th annual holiday contest. holiday-contest. thanks to jilanne hoffman for the heads up on the contest.

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