Pachysandra peek through the thin snow.
A leaf straggles slowly on the north wind.
Upside-down, woodpeckers search for suet.

Interrupting the frozen surface of the pond,
Air bubbles up meekly in two small circles.
Bass and bluegills rest seven feet below.

Behind a white fence the fire pit shivers.
The silent playhouse, under a gray tarp,
Waits for walls, windows, and a door.

After dark, cars passing by the gray house
See a yellow star crowning the arborvitae
And candles flickering in the window.

Inside, three magi approach the manger
On the mantle above the glow of a warm fire
And a toy train toots under the glorious tree.

Sweet carols and piercing toddler squeals
Accompany bountiful meals, bulging stockings,
Thoughtful presents, and boundless love.

(Chris Clark, December 2019)

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