December Poem, 2013 |
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December Poem, 2013

Drop my children off at another parent’s house

To free up time to drive aimlessly, listening to

FM radio, waiting for a song that I feel deeply

Connected to, stopping in small towns to pump

Gasoline, eager to make acquaintances with the

Cashier, a woman who tells me my credit card

Has been declined; always so embarrassing. In

Fall Creek I present a notice of delivery to the 

Postmaster, who has me sign my name on a 

Computer screen; turns out to just be a bill. Who

Does that? Sends a bill, certified? Snowing

Outside so I drive some more: a country church

Where the cemetery looks like a postcard from

Somewhere very beautiful. Two days ago, Auburn

Beat Alabama in something called The Iron Bowl

Which sounds more like an Age, or an Epoch of

Time, and I listen to a recording of the Auburn announcers 

Scream about Jesus and the Lord Above and 

Grown men shrieking like little girls and then I

Drive past my favorite supper club, where two

Men are installing a big picture window 

Despite the heavy snow, and I think, Sweet Jesus

Don’t drop that window, don’t drop that window.

And they don’t, which leaves only a trip to 

Wal-Mart for bird-seed, colored Christmas lights,

And a gift for a kid named Jesus, who I don’t even

Know, but who is apparently very poor, or rather,

Whose parents are very poor. And my church

Has volunteered to supply him with Christmas gifts.

And of all the names that I could have chosen last 

Sunday at church, I choose Jesus’, because I was at 

Church, and already thinking of Jesus, though, we

Pronounce his name differently, a totally different man,

Et cetera, and because I like Mexican people, and 

Because Jesus only wanted Legos, and my son, 

Henry, also loves Legos, so I went hog-wild on

Little Jesus’ behalf, and spent fifty bucks on a 

Star Wars themed Legos set, an X-wing fighter. 

And when I arrive home, I eat Thanksgiving leftovers, 

Again, and think about gravy and cranberries, and 

How I’ve eaten gravy for five days straight. 

Gravy on potatoes, gravy on stuffing, gravy on turkey, 

Gravy on my toast, gravy on my cranberries, on my 

Cheese, on my Miracle-Whip, on my green-bean casserole. 

Gravy on everything. Gravy. Gravy. Gravy.

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Nickolas Butler is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Shotgun Lovesongs, The Hearts of Men, Little Faith, and Godspeed, and the story collection Beneath the Bonfire.

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