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3:00 am Christmas,
and your newly divorced
neighbor’s trying to screw
together the last wall of a doll house
for the four-year-old she’s finally
coaxed into sleep,
when your stereo blares
Elvis crooning Blue Christmas again
through the too-thin walls,
and her screwdriver slips,
gashing the tip of her ring finger,
and a small string of blood beads up
just as, in the next room,
the four-year-old resumes whimpering 
and wakes the colicky baby,
and the weary mother swears
she’ll kill you for this
and pounds on the plain white walls,
not knowing how, beneath your
exquisitely decorated blue spruce,
your red, red, red Christmas
already drips from the slit on your wrist.

Photo by ZACHARY STAINES on Unsplash

Marjorie Maddox

Winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetr­­­­­y Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist)Local News from Someplace Else;Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award)—the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); four children’s and YA books—including  Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises and A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry,Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems ,I’m Feeling Blue, Too!Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (co-editor); Presence (assistant editor); and 600+ stories, essays, and poems in journals and anthologies. Forthcoming in 2022 is her book Begin with a Question (Paraclete Press), as well as her ekphrastic collaboration with photographer Karen Elias, Heart Speaks, Is Spoken For (Shanti Arts, 2021). For more information, please see