Toward the end of every year, Christmas comes again,
To life the tired spirits for those of us who can
Celebrate with lights and trees and carols that we sing,
And all the warm and happy smiles expensive presents bring.
But December twenty-fifth to some is just another day
To bear alone like all the rest that drain their lives away.
Come take a look at holidays for folks you might have missed
As you hurried by them to buy your family's gifts.
Sara Jenkins limped along the sidewalk on South Main,
Her ancient, failing body was bent with cold and pain.
Her ***** fingers held the bags storing all she owned;
She walked alone and spoke to ghosts of people she had known.
The shoppers on the sidewalk stepped out of her way,
The sight and smell of Sara drove them all away.
No one knew old Sara, no one wanted to;
No one had the time for her with Christmas things to do.
She hobbled down an alleyway behind The Deli Suite,
To find the empty packing crate she crawled inside to sleep.
She turned a corner, dropped her bags and gave an awful howl,
A delivery truck had crushed her crate against the Deli’s wall.
Sara scrambled to the crate, and pulled the boards away
She searched around until she found a photo in a frame.
The glass was cracked, the photo torn, but she could see his face.
And his arm around her shoulders in their younger days.
Then the wind whipped up around her, she pulled her sweater tight.
Sara knew she needed warmth to make it though the night.
She saw a rusty dumpster where she used to look for food,
The only thing the dumpster held were rags and broken wood.
She packed the rags around her, underneath her clothes
And looked about to find a spot to sleep out of the snow.
But the alley didn’t hold a place to lay her tired head,
So Sara walked up to the truck and tried the door instead.
She braced herself and pulled, the truck’s door opened up,
And Sara’s life grew by one night thanks to random luck.
The driver of the truck had quit at noon that day,
And left his lunch behind him in his haste to get away.
A thermos and a lunch box were lying on the floor;
Now Sara had a meal and a place out of the storm.
She gathered up her battered bags and slid onto the seat,
Locked the doors, settled back, and ate the driver’s meal.
Tomorrow he may come back, and then she’d have to leave,
But time for that tomorrow, tonight was Christmas Eve.
This is the introduction to and first character of a narrative Christmas poem I wrote under very difficult circumstances in 1990. The entire illustrated poem can be read at christmaspresence.com. The site offers the poem for sale, but I will be happy to send anyone of my "Hello Poetry" family a copy free of charge. Merry Christmas early; I hope you enjoy the read. By the way, it ends much happier than it starts, which is, as you will see, true of the circumstances I experienced.