A grotesquerie for so long we all ignored it: The mammoth plastic Santa lighting up On the Quik-Stop's roof, presiding over pumps That gleamed and gushed in the tarmac lot below it. Out back, with pumps of their own, the muttering diesels. And we, for the most part ordinary folks, Took all for granted: the idling semis' smoke, The fuel that streamed into our tanks, above all Our livelihoods. We stepped indoors to talk With friends, shared coffee, read the local paper, Heavy with news of hard times now. We shiver. Our afternoons are gone. At five o'clock —Once we gave the matter little thought— Our Santa Claus no longer flares with light.
Copyright © 2011 by Sydney Lea. Reprinted from Young of the Year with the permission of Four Way Books.