Just Another Christmas

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Just Another Christmas

So this woman sees me standing there

in line

at the store full of plastic and junk and

tiny lights that blink

and cash registers chiming

like canned holiday tunes.

And she smiles all wide

and spreads out her hands

like she wants to say,

“It’s Christmas. You should be happy

and merry and shit.”

So I flash her the quick-fake smile

that you have to give

to strangers

and look away

because who is she?

And why should I care that it’s

just another Christmas

full of rich people who aren’t me

wasting their rent money on shiny paper

and battery toys and clothes

that ain’t gonna fit anyway?

She don’t know that the smell of pine

makes my eyes water and my heart twist up

like an old rag

from those memories

of music and love

when Christmas smelled like a perfect

peppermint candy cane hanging on a tree,

not just another day of

empty stomachs and

empty pockets except for

$2.75

to stand in this line

to buy me one loaf of bread.

Then the cash register chimes

in front of me

and that lady has the nerve to

reach over me

and give the guy some money.

Then she walks away with nothing

and I walk out of that store with

a loaf of bread

$2.75

and one perfect striped

peppermint candy cane

that smelled like

Christmas.

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