December 15, 2003

Christmas in Southern California

A red shopping cart narrowly misses my toes,
I stumble an excuse me, navigating
Through Target. Ten days 'til Christmas
Every register open and full.
I'm grateful I can't read people's thoughts
The lists of gifts, anger at strangers
Shock at prices, worries of bounced checks
Hope for a mother-in-law's approval.
I love these people through the discord
The one connection in my scattered tree
Roots. Just like Target, I have no main room
Where everyone meets. Family in different
States, friends in different cities, love indifferent.
We all come together at the check-out counter
Pay our dues, say our hellos and goodbyes
Pass the beggar, tell our lies.
I watch the frowns disperse.
In the land of sun and pavement
We cannot find a single rose
To stop and smell.

by E. M. Soos

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