The Christmas Card

29 Apr
did you ever see someone so striking
you were magnetically drawn to them
that took place when i walked out the
safeway supermarket that day

i was stranded in hawaii after three months of job training
on my bottom dollar
went to the store
to buy a coke
february nineteen-eighty-two

dripping from the ninety-degree island
strolling the steaming cement sidewalk
complaining to myself
whimpering within
begging for an answer for marching orders
like praying please send me a messenger

felt abandoned by friends not even
a christmas card the past holidays not even
a card to say thinking of you

i wasnt embracing
the suck

from the cashier coke in hand
leaving near the entrance grocery baskets
an elder lady stuffing plastic bags
into her hip dress pockets puffed out like a mountie
looked like a bag-lady
her lizard-like skin leathery orange from the island sun

i said hello
asking her how's the day
and asked if she were looking
for hand to her car

she said no
but you do
then fixing me
with her smiling gaze
we exited the glass doors side by side

(( i don't have family or friends in hawaii
just a hoale mainlander
visitor from ohio for the short training camp
but no air ticket back ))

but this elder lady told me all about myself
as we walked the length of the store's parking lot
she told me details of my whining soliloquy
while footing to the safeway
an hour past
like she were listening on my shoulder in my head
to my self-talk

i swooned as if having a panic attack
found it hard to catch my breath
she saw like a window inside my head
i mouthed asking how how
but i only gasped with lips quivering

she put her finger to my lips and said shush
you can't even begin to understand
how i've walked with you from birth
she told me of the whole sweep of my history
everything she said true - spot on

we came to her car
blue model thirty years out of date
a birdcage in the back seat
sat her wide frame down into that small car
me still standing eyes wide in partial shock
rolled down the window and said

turn around oneeighty i did
don't even peek i didn't
turn back i did

she smiled with an envelope in hand for me
don't read this until i'm out of here

turn around again
i did as she commanded
waited... waited...
no sound of the blue car's engine turning over
i wouldve heard
the ears were seriously listening

after a while i looked over the shoulder
the car just vanished
no drivers were leaving the lot
i looked at a distance
just empty exit roads
but the envelope still in my hand
tore it and inside

a christmas card
baby jesus held by mother mary
her writing inside
remember me

3.5 10/10
© Brian Peter Hodgkinson    
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Posted by on April 29, 2022 in Poetry


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