It’s not so much that you subscribe to it
As that you were enlisted in its rolls
From birth and knew you must find work and do it
As soon as you had finished playing dolls
(Although you still think wistfully of the one
With clear blue eyes and thick, black eyelashes,
Who’d wet her gown and cry until the moon
Turned off its light and left the window sashes
To shiver through a night of wind and snow.
Your doll was now fast asleep, dreaming of
Places she’d like, when she grew up, to go
In Santa’s sleigh, which had paused on the roof
Of this tenement long enough to leave
You the windfall gift of a child to love).
© Kelly Cherry