Douglas W. Gray

Twelve days to Christmas and conscience is my sleigh —
listen, son, there's no way, no way... I think of you
as people pass, car and bike and bus, lost within the crowd.

And I have vowed to keep the album open,
a sorry midnight trawl, but days your Santa sits and sups,
sunk inside a mall, evil beard and distant.

Listen, son, remember how I'd read you story books,
howling through 'The Lion King', now daddy's full
of piss and pukes, prowling coloured light.

Tonight there's paper promise in my pocket,
a cross to bear and nowhere else to be — look at me
in Jingle Hell, where thoughts Noel like dud gift tokens.