The Day after Christmas

Twas the day after Christmas,
when all through the world,
everyone lay a-sleeping,
exhausted from too much holiday keeping.

The Northern Lights are like a cloud of magic
beckoning him home to the North Pole,
the reindeer leaving behind lumps of coal.
It has been a long night of noshing,
crawling up and down fireplaces in snowy wonderlands,
and in and out of windows in rainy summerlands.

He was an old man—
this giver of gifts—
when he was given everlasting life
almost two thousand years ago.
With the help of his elves,
he crafted the cradle
for the Baby King in the manger;
his wife, Ella, had sewn the blanket
He was wrap’t in—
a shroud of Bethlehem.

When he and the Missus
had touched the Babe’s head,
death was swallowed up whole,
and they were given a task—
to be not the masters,
but the servants of the least among them.

He feels his light fading at times,
for fewer children believe now,
but the younger ones do,
for the Kingdom of Heaven
is made up of such.

All the families, he knew by name—
the ones who leave rummy eggnog in punch mugs
and brandied fruitcake on tea plates;
the ones who leave reindeer treats,
and sugar cookies shaped like stars and snowflakes;
the ones with nothing to give
but letters of wishes and thank you cards
and handmade keepsakes.

It wasn’t till centuries later that
the young Norman had captured his essence,
for the boy had caught him unawares
the year he’d left him a box of colors
with which he’d painted the world—
capturing the spirit of Americana,
of happy times and auld lang syne.
Norman had brought him to life through memory—
imagination filling in the rest,
capturing the awe and wonder
so many children possess.

As Santa nears home,
the reindeer skating over the ice,
he whispers to the midnight clear,
“Happy Christmastide to all,
and to all, a Happy New Year!”

A Parent’s Wish

You thought I was pushy,
but it was only because no one
ever pushed me.

They thought I was
the sun, moon, and stars,
the very best of them,
fused together—
a celestial trinity.

They saw my potential,
figuring my success
was a foregone conclusion—
that it was written in the stars,
for the sun rose and set on me,
the rare blue moon that I was.

I see that same potential in you;
I just want you to realize it sooner,
so that you,
as every parent wishes,
will outpace them.

More Good News

A couple of years ago, I wrote a short story for the “Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest”, but, forgettable me, missed the deadline, so I submitted it this year and won “Honorable Mention”, which, for a magazine of such notoriety, is quite an honor.

The story is called “The Ghoul of Whitmire Cemetery”, set partly in Pensacola during the great flood of April 2014, and partly in Pensacola in the late Fifties when a grave robber “haunted” two of the local cemeteries (true story).

Below is the e-mail I received yesterday.


Dear Sarah:

Congratulations! You have won “honorable mention” in the 2016 Saturday Evening Post Great American Fiction Contest.

We will be announcing the winner very soon, but I wanted to reach out to each finalist first to applaud your work and also clarify details with regard to publication rights.

If you agree, the Post will be publishing the winning entry, runners up, and honorable mentions in an e-book and possibly print anthology. While only one story will be published in the Post, we are seeking online rights, as well as digital/anthology rights for all stories. Though there is no monetary award, each honorable mention will be included in the anthology—print and/or digital.

We want to make sure that each finalist is on the same page. All rights—one-time anthology/online/digital rights—will be clear in the contract that will be forwarded to you.

As a final check, we also want to make sure that your story has not yet been published, with the exception showcasing on a personal website or blog (as outlined in the rules). If you have placed the story in a national publication since its submission to our contest, please advise.

Your story is great and we look forward to sharing it with Post readers and the general public as well. We may have several questions regarding editing, which I would like to address with you. Welcome your earliest reply.

Please let me know if you have any questions. 

Again, thank you, for sharing “The Ghoul of Whitmire Cemetery” with us.

All the best,

Patrick Perry, MPH
Executive Editor
The Saturday Evening Post magazine


Window Shopping

So November has went into hibernation, and it’s back to the poem-a-week challenge, thank heavens.

Here is one of my more lighthearted pieces in which I combined two things I love:  shopping and baking.  Enjoy!


I wasn’t even shopping for a husband
that day in Dayside,
but I found one—
so fetching in his baker’s cap,
like a special-order nutcracker.

He wasn’t brand-new,
but he still worked;
he’d been on the shelf awhile,
but, like flour or dandruff,
he could be dusted off.
He wasn’t perfect,
but I would be the sandpaper
that would smooth his rough edges.
I would make him mine.

He wasn’t on clearance,
so that was attractive to me—
he wasn’t even for sale,
but he talked himself into it.
True, he had never been bought,
but neither had he ever been returned.

I decided to take him home,
feeling I got a bargain,
so I married him,
getting a little bun in the oven as a rebate,
a bun who came out smelling buttery sweet.

Though there have been times
I’ve wanted to return him,
I cannot,
for I threw away the receipt
when I said, “I do.”
He wouldn’t quite fit anyone else now
(at least without much reworking),
and neither would I,
so I’ll keep him for the rest of his life
(or mine).

I go to play with my little loaf of bread,
now rising and still rising,
with the pretty pink tie at the top,
as I happily await the next little bun,
made with the same, all-natural ingredients,
and yet unique and wonderfully made.

Good News


The Annexation of Angela

You knew me before I was born,
and the other me,
before we became one.

At the basic level,
I was two,
becoming the stronger of them,
absorbing the other like a sponge.

I’ve two fathers,
much like Christ,
though I know neither of them,
and they know not of me.

I look in the glass that looks back at me,
wondering who the other one was,
but I’m just a chimera,
a breathing being like few others—
an oddity.

I’m neither a myth nor a monster
with the head of a lion.
I have not the body of a goat,
nor have I a serpent’s tail.
I am not the devil;
the devil is one,
even as I am two.

I am not a horror of the imagination,
but am the product of two separate nights
shared by three.
An unholy triad, some say,
rather than a holy trinity.

Did we hold hands,
and I,
wanting to survive,
draw you into me,
having not yet taken my first breath?

Did I not let you go,
but held tight so that I might live?

Forgive me,
for I knew not what I was doing.
I did not steal your identity,
I simply split mine.

And then I was born.


for an abstract poem on chimerism, click below:

Dear High School Graduates

I was seventeen when I graduated from high school.  That has been almost that many years ago, and I often think about what I would’ve told my seventeen-year-old self, wondering if I would’ve listened.  Some of us learn from the mistakes of others, and some of us just have to learn the hard way.

I think I’ve learned from both.


Take a year or two off if you want—
see the world,
study abroad,
learn things you can’t learn out of books,
because much of what we learn,
we learn by doing.

Want what you want–
not what you’re supposed to want;
love what you love–
not the idea of it.

Don’t go into debt for an education,
but for an investment into a career,
for it’s easier to dig out with a big shovel
than it is to have no shovel.

You can learn about many things from books–
fiction and nonfiction.

Know that the more educated you are,
the less likely you are to be unemployed,
because the world will always be full of uneducated people.
Value yourself by making yourself valuable.

Don’t wait till you have the money to marry—
you may never feel like you have the money,
and two incomes combined are always better than one.
Remember that children don’t always come
when you want them to,
however careful your plans.

Marry the right person, at the right time.
You must agree on whether or not to have children
and if so, how many.
It will never work out if you feel you’re the one giving in.

And think not that love is a barrier;
you can fall in love, marry, have a family,
and find purpose beyond all that
in ways you might never have imagined.
It might just take a little longer.

Never try to change anyone;
find the one who is already changed,
who is already right for you,
for the most lasting change comes from within–
from unforeseen circumstances and
unintended consequences.

Always be a work in progress,
and make lifelong learning a goal
that is reached every day,
in a thousand little ways.

Listen more, talk less.
Do more, watch less,
but do not try to run faster than you have strength.
You do not have to be as rich as Mark Cuban
to be successful,
for success is measured in a myriad of ways.

Compare the you of today,
to the you of yesterday—
not to others on any day.
Always continue to outpace yourself,
and remember,
sometimes you have to lose yourself
before you can find yourself.

Know that life often deviates from your plan,
and your happiness will depend on how you handle
these changes.

And finally, realize that hard work often precedes luck,
so good luck on the life that awaits you, graduates.