A Poem at Christmastime
December 22, 2011
Spit balls hit the little guy in the back of his neck
Round paper signatures, like hate mail, fired from
The back row of the musty classroom on the third floor.
He wipes it away, whatever's left,
And does everything he can not to wince,
Not to show what he feels deep. Deep.
And the little guy is used to this, and the knot in his little tummy
As he pulls on his shoes in the morning.
He's used to looking the other way when the others
Sneer during morning lineup or point his way at recess.
So vacation comes like sweet relief, that last bell
Like heavenly choirs. No more spit balls. No more
Fists to the ribs when teachers hurry off to make copies.
That last day he runs home, all arms and legs,
A backpack full of fabulous art and daring stories.
He buries his little face in the big dog's fur
And hugs his mom because he can.
She rubs his neck, the part that hurts,
And pours him a big glass of chocolate milk.
And while she makes Christmas soup,
This same little guy wanders to the wall
Where a crucifix hangs, and Jesus wounded on it.
You and me, he whispers. We made it through.
Today, we made it through.