When I ambled into Meng’s
the place was packed even though
this was Christmas day.
Well, not every soul in Brooklyn
had a place to celebrate the holiday,
thus Meng’s flourished as refuge.
“Bernstein, here, ” said Joe Lutz.
“Greetings, ” I cheerfully proclaimed
but Joe’s drunken breath told another tale
as he sobbed, “My old man
killed himself on Christmas day
and after that things was never the same
mother went nuts
loved my father so
and after that I never got a present.
She tried to raise us kids but couldn’t.
Then one boyfriend after the other
in the house and doing things with her.
The worst was a stranger on Christmas day
and my mother always made sure
to have a body on Christmas day.
Never a real tree, year after year
a tiny plastic thing maybe a foot high
Just then Treasure showed up
sat smiled said,
Joe silent staring
perhaps a tear couldn’t tell head down.
“That OK to say to a Jewish man, ” she asked me.
“And it’s gonna snow know you love snow.”
Treasure silent, staring at Joe
now at me asking, “What’s with Lutz? ”
“Father killed himself on Christmas day.”
“Never been the same.”
“You know, couldn’t handle it, the pain.”
“Then he’ll suffer, ” Treasure said calmly
as Lutz blinked, then gulped, blinked again
still silent, waiting, wanting
time to shift, somehow turn or bend or break
but Treasure’s implacable eyes
would not let that happen
so again: “Merry Christmas.”