Lesley Wheeler

Holiday Special

The cartoon sun
casts a honey gleam
this solstice, this great
creaking of hinges no one
hears, not the faithful,
not the unbelievers, only
one inked-in bear.

Sketchy needles
shiver across the lot.
Forest of dead
Douglas fir in nets.

Three sleek crows cry
in two scotch pines.
They have seen it before.

Bear-paws drum
on the morning’s
rim. He barks
at the music of the register,
empties the crèches,
snuffs the candles.
His fine-drawn claws tear
up the scene, disassemble
the sleigh into good
wood and gilt debris.

When I listen carefully
I hear this bear in me.
His squiggle lumbers
across my red lids
before he turns to my camera.
Know, read the letters
knotted into his fur,
looped into his tiny pupils,
that I animate myself.
I am the maker.
Not God. Not you.