The laughter of school children bounced off
the bitter air. Snot icicles formed and hung
from Mary’s Rudolph nose while snowfairyflakes
tickled her tongue. Jingles caroled into
the scratchy loudspeaker. And as Mary

twirled, her blades shaved the glassy ice.
And women in their fancy garb, matching
mufflers and scarves, looked on from the rail.
Mister Rockefeller’s tree, adorned with
rainbow lights, sparkled as the crowd ‘ahhed.’

The music trailed off like an ellipsis
and I helped unlace Mary’s worn-out boots.
The smell of street cart hot dogs filled the air
and Mary’s tummy rumbled. ‘Maybe next time,’
I said as we walked gloved hand in gloved hand.

Mister Macy, with his store front fantasy
still put on the best free show. Mary
pressed her nose against the fogged window
and wished for porcelain dolls and gingerbread
houses. I gently draped my arm around her tiny

frame. I smiled and bent down to see
what Mary saw—tiny people eating
supper with painted smiles—a perfect world.
Then I kissed Mary on a rosy cheek
and said, ‘maybe next year.’

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