By: Derek Annis

With my first child on the way, my main concern
is how I am going to explain
about Santa Claus—that Christmas Eve
in the early nineties when, in the middle of the night
I heard a racket, rose from under the sheets, snuck
downstairs, passed the large dark figure
rooting around under the unlighted tree, snatched
a big knife from the wooden block in the kitchen
and buried it in his throat, from which gushed red
and white streams of molten peppermint candy,
hardening on the carpet while he gurgled
some pathetic plea for help to the reindeer
on the roof before going limp, breathless,
his no-longer-jolly gut still jiggling, his drunkard-red nose
going blue, and my grandparents who, upon waking, helped
me break the frozen earth, roll his body
in, and cover it—that this
is how I came into possession
of the magical red sack from which the wished for presents
are produced each year—that this is why, when the light
comes on in the middle of the night, I am the one
filling the stockings, consuming the milk and cookies.

Derek Annis is the author of Neighborhood of Gray Houses, which will be released by Lost Horse Press in March, 2020. Derek lives in Spokane, Washington, and holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University. Their poems have appeared in The Account, Colorado Review, Epiphany, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review Online, Spillway, Third Coast, and many other journals.