Treasure Island

Bill Knott

(1940 - / Carson City, Michigan)

Christmas at the Orphanage


But if they'd give us toys and twice the stuff most
parents splurge on the average kid, orphans, I submit, need more than enough;
in fact, stacks wrapped with our names nearly hid
the tree: these sparkling allotments yearly
guaranteed a lack of--what?--family?--

I knew exactly what it was I missed as we were lined up number rank and file:
to share my pals' tearing open their piles
meant sealing the self, the child that wanted
to scream at all You stole those gifts from me;
whose birthday is worth such words? The wish-lists
they'd made us write out in May lay granted
against starred branches. I said I'm sorry.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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