A grotesquerie for so long we all ignored it:
The mammoth plastic Santa lighting up
On the Quik-Stop’s roof, presiding over pumps
That gleamed and gushed in the tarmac lot below it.
Out back, with pumps of their own, the muttering diesels.
And we, for the most part ordinary folks,
Took all for granted: the idling semis’ smoke,
The fuel that streamed into our tanks, above all
Our livelihoods. We stepped indoors to talk
With friends, shared coffee, read the local paper,
Heavy with news of hard times now. We shivered.
Our afternoons were gone. At five o’clock
—Once we gave the matter little thought—
Our Santa Claus no longer flared with light.
by Sydney Lea
Editor’s Note: This sonnet expertly describes how easy it is to feel that the present moment is the worst, but nostalgia teaches us otherwise.