To the uninitiated,
Christmas is kind of like trick-or-treat;
the holiday a story of
a starved yet portly older man
who sneaks into houses to feed his family for the winter.
When I was a kid, I heard that
poor elderly Santa lived too far
up North for plants to grow,
and where the animals of the arctic
are far too scared of the candy-cane
magnetic field of the perpetual Ice Age
to venture close enough to eat.
Why anyone would live so close
to the tip of the Earth is crazy;
even the white bears, who have the same
positive charge as the pole,
are repelled away from the place.
But there the fat man sat
making gifts for the coming Christmas.
Without money, it was the only way
he could say thank you for the abundance
of cookies and milk he receives on the 25th.
These he stored in his cheeks, I reasoned,
like a chipmunk preparing for hibernation,
or a bird with mouths to feed at home.
He must have felt lonely
and even though I could not be found
on either his naughty or nice list,
I wanted to give the man a gift
to keep his belly full.
So on the night of the Pine Trees,
as I liked to call it,
because baby Jesus
was probably too self conscious
to want a day named after himself,
I crept into our kitchen
and wrapped up some gefilte fish
and hummus for Saint Nick,
and a head of cabbage for his reindeer.
I left it sitting by our fireplace where he could find it.
Though it was too early for Passover,
I suppose Santa celebrated early,
for my gifts were left untouched in the morning
smelling of coal-gone-bad.