Twas Three Days Till Christmas

Tis three days till Christmas and in this madhouse

Six kiddos run restless, drumming like grouse

They hang from the staircase, finger over thumb,

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Rustling Christmas tree branches with round little bums,

Till down the tree tumbles, throwing popcorn crumbs,

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Six human faces—four white, two dark—twirling,

Whirling to Crosby’s “. . .Dreaming of carols in the snow”

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Watching Jo-Jo craft plastic-sack-man to throw,

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To dangle-drift off the back porch with glee

Once, twice, hurtling him high and free

Till plastic chute hangs high in Neighbor’s tree,

Then whooping and hollering into the night,

Catching red-green sparkles of Holiday lights

Six pairs of bare toes scatter down the sidewalk,

To neighbor’s brown grass-patch and bare-naked tree,

Whispering, scheming how to set the chute free.

Till I open the window calling through steamy-cold air:

“Come Jo-Jo, come M, come MJ, come you kids!

Come A, come Zaza and come little E,

To the path, to the door, to the house everyone,

Now run, now run, now run-run-run-run”

And as fast as flames fly from hearth to flue,

Frozen feet dash up the path for some stew,

Then as dishes I wash, full-bellied kids I address:

“Christmas is coming and this house is a mess—

the cards lay in piles, the cookies aren’t made,

the laundry’s exploding like an unpinned grenade,

my closet’s a fresco of unmade invention,

the gifts I must craft now need my attention!

So I promise to play the day after today,

But A and MJ to your house you must tread

While Jo-Jo, Zaza, M, and little E, up, up to bed!”

I throw open the door shooing M and A out,

Then four little faces cross arms in a pout,

I kiss their cheeks, send them upstairs to sleep,

And here I sit on top of a laundry heap,

Wishing I too under bedcovers could creep,

But I have miles to go and promises to keep,

For as a mama sows so shall she reap!

So bless you sweet mamas and papas out there

May love fuel your fingers on into the night,

But I pray we never forget to remember

The memories we make and sweetness we share

Are what really make this Christmas-time dear.

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Becca B.