My father opened his wallet to show me
a hundred dollar bill.
I thought he was rich, and said so.
Naw, he answered and carefully
slid the crisp paper back into its leather sleeve.
my sister and I opened box after box.
Angora sweater, knee socks
Ricky Nelson LP for me,
roller skates for her.
My mother gave Dad pajamas,
socks, a hand warmer gadget
for Colt games at Memorial Stadium.
When it was all over
paper detritus littering rose-colored carpet,
Dad pointed to the back of the Christmas tree
wedged against the long drapes
at the picture window
so the colored lights were on displaY
for all of Hilltop Avenue to see.
Merry Christmas, Mom, he said quietly.
My mother jumped up, almost
tripping over her long robe,
laughed when it came into her view,
that hundred dollar bill, clipped to the tree
by a Shaker clothespin.
Not for paying the bills, Dad said.
Now Mom was rich.
Reprinted from silver birch press, published December 12,2015, here.