Santa Claus, Indiana

sometimes these sentences i carve out on page leave my control, a tree fallen without the, “timber,” so anyone could get concussed by its falling limbs

and i realize how ludicrous that sounds, that i control this pen, but not my need for you, the way a whale needs oxygen, just has to surface.

you were just a boy i saw for two minutes in a far away country, with eyes distracted by introspection, shuffling through a marketplace crowd.

somehow, i wanted to break from my group and follow you to your home, hut, spot under a bridge, wherever, so i could grip you by the left shoulder

and say, “hi.” hello, i’m from santa clause, where boys, maybe even you, and girls and whatever else send pleading letters to someone who either hides in barracks under the ice or died in egypt

hundreds of years ago, promising the impoverished their most base wish. the mahogany of your pupils reminds me of tree trunks in a dying autumnal day, a time of maple syrup in our drinks and pumpkin spice in our desserts

while over there you snack on peppers growing on vines my grandparents would never dare pick, and you’d probably snigger at my half-learned spanish

while my hearing stumbled with your eloquence. you’d find me obese, probably, all of us americans like the gargantuan cattle we consume.

a year passes, and then another, where i try washing the taste of you out of my mouth. i grow old enough to date online, for those occasions to go nowhere, left only with

forlorn treks in wildernesses, my boots caked with mud, my thoughts turning to the constant nausea of that trip, the revolt of bowels and outpour of sweat

all the while thinking of escape, return, a linger in that marketplace, evasions of searching policia, allowing days to pass by before your return, same shirt, same dirty pants

and exact same eyes, all so i can chase you down and drag you to somewhere belonging to neither of us, neither chile nor indiana, the rainy season of delhi, the bazaars of morocco, the shadow of the eiffel tower

but we never get there, i never get back, i only return to the feet of the grinning and bearded statue symbolizing my town, a village remarked upon

only by trivia and a local amusement park. somewhere you or more likely the children you fathered send memos to the benefactor purportedly here while i scribble desperate desires

on these wood shavings, only to swallow them, to be the mascot, to accept on behalf of that holiday scoundrel all the dreams you have of a life without me.

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