In December, the people turn their attention
We don’t do it well, of course:
the baubles are tacky, the sales crowded,
we line up in a fifty-minute queue
to see exactly what we already knew was going to happen,
happen just as we knew it would, only less so.
Across the land, our family gatherings miraculously combine
the natural ease of a middle school dance
with the gaiety of the Hundred Years War.
We aren’t stupid, we people.
we know just how bad we are at joy.
Exhibit A, your aunt, in her Christmas sweater
at the edge of the sofa,
fingers clasping her brandy snifter for dear life,
meeting only the old familiar terror in the eye.
But still, be kind, you old cynic,
and note down
all the times we let a child, at long last,
rule the world.
Because it could be so, so much worse.
Once we devoted ourselves to efficiency,
and we invented the cell phone.