Christmas 1963 (or 2008?)
Because we wanted much that year and had little.
Because the winter phone for days stayed silent
that would call our father back to work,
and he kept silent too with our mother,
fearfully proud before us.
Because I was young that morning in gray light untouched on the rug
and our gifts were so few, propped along the furniture, for a second
my heart fell, then saw how large they made the spaces between them
to take the place of less.
Because the curtained sun rose brightly on our discarded paper and the things
themselves, these forty years, have grown too small to see,
the emptiness measured out remains the gift,
fills the whole room now,
that whole year out across the snowy lawn.
Because a drop of shame burned quietly in the province of love.
Because we had little that year and were given much.
Joseph Enzweiler, from The Man Who Ordered Perch