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.


i can’t

did you hear about his…

i did. it’s awful. i don’t–

i just can’t.

and then they’re going to…

god, i know. they’re so–

i can’t. i can’t even.

now we’re all going to have to…

ugh! yes! it’s unbel–

i can’t…

meanwhile we’re all headed for…

don’t remind me. it makes me wanna–

i just can’t.

but this is impor…

i know it is, it’s just–

i can’t. i can’t even…

whatever you say.