Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Christmas at the Orphanage

But if they’d give us toys and twice the stuff
most parents splurge on the average kid,
orphans, I submit, need more than enough;
in fact, stacks wrapped with our names nearly hid
the tree where sparkling allotments yearly
guaranteed a lack of—what?—family?—

I knew exactly what it was I missed:
(did each boy there feel the same denials?)
to share my pals’ tearing open their piles
meant sealing the self, the child that wanted
to scream at all You stole those gifts from me;
whose birthday is worth such words? The wish-lists
they’d made us write out in May lay granted
against starred branches. I said I’m sorry.

Credit


From I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems 1960-2014 by Bill Knott, edited by Thomas Lux. Copyright © 2017 by The Estate of Bill Knott.  Reprinted/Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Author


Bill Knott

Bill Knott published numerous poetry collections, including I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems, 1960–2014 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017).

Date Published: 2017-03-31

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/christmas-orphanage