For a long time he had opened his shirt
and shown his scar,
but they’d walked through it.
He could taste their pity,
acrid on his tongue
and wanted to spit it into the face
of this season’s goodwill.
How could he throw hot soup
to scald a giving hand
for their disgust often turned to compassion
at Christmas time,
all wrapped up in gaudy paper,
glittering with token kindness;
but it was difficult to trust anymore.
He was homesick for his childhood;
for those days when everything
tasted like chocolate,
and each year his gift to himself
was to remember.
Reaching into his pocket
with fingers tinged blue with cold,
he took out a snowball
and watched it melt in his frozen hand.