Christmas Passing by Patricia Wallace Jones

Christmas Passing

Dressed in green and arriving by creek
instead of the path, I startle the dogs.
They circle me to protect a man
I assume is a drifter, the bearded one
who built a fire, slept on the beach
on Christmas Eve.

He calls them in, offers me coffee
from a stainless cup, looks to the bluff
and thanks me for the light-strung tree.

We talk a bit, throw sticks to the dogs
until taken by a rise of sea-bound gulls,
flashes of white on a winter front,
we lapse into silence
to let the season pass between us.

I climb home, look over my shoulder,
see only the great heron
closer to me than he’s ever been.

by Patricia Wallace Jones

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Editor’s Note: The close of this poem carries the entire thing.

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