He refuses the signature blue box tied with a white cloth ribbon.
Instead he pries open an album of a boy who never smiled,
for after he opened his gifts, his mother returned them.
He won’t spend the holidays with me, sit at my mother’s table,
listen to my father’s bad jokes. He never fought for a corner
of the piano bench to sing carols beside my mother, never tiptoed
into the cellar to spy the Victorian dollhouse my father made,
never knocked on the innkeeper’s door playing Joseph, or loved
the baby Jesus in the manger so much that he brought him
into the bathtub, never crawled under the tree, mesmerized
by the underbelly of ornaments and halos from colored lights
to whisper what he really wanted as I did with my brother.
He remembers acres of Pine Barrens, his future inheritance,
that he was forbidden to climb. He calls his mother
by her first name; doesn’t call his father at all.
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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 47 | Spring 2016