We don’t wait up for people who don’t show up here

by MARLIN M. JENKINS

 

On TV there’s Santas in the street,

on corners—these white men

with curly beards and bells, these men

who don’t come to our neighborhood.

 

In summer, we climb our trees

on the thin branches

and wait for them shits to break.

           

We sit on porches

during tornado warnings,

wait for storm.

 

We wait for ice cream trucks

and for our moms

to get home so the house

ain’t so empty. These the things

we wait for.

                     In December,

yeah, we wait for snow, but the dog

don’t sit by the fireplace.

No fireplace. No stockings.

 

No one we know got a chimney.

 

On the 25th, socks and cheese.

Maybe a hand-me-down bike.

 

We learned quick Santa ain’t real,

            or if he is

he don’t give a shit ‘bout us—

 

though on TV we see stories

‘bout fathers pretending

to be Santa. Maybe this part

 

is true. Maybe this part is the problem.