The rain has been occasional,

intermittently filling an old wastebasket

placed underneath a clogged gutter

thin ice on top glitters some mornings

If it was still summer, the rainwater

would be used to douse dry plants

instead I carry the dull pink rectangle

full to the brim away from the house

while thinking of rain barrels or

at the very least reusing a spackle

bucket with a wire handle which

would be both easier but heavier

Not only are the streets washed fresh

but the church parking lot where

the soccer boys and men gather

rain or shine or snow or warm wind

Someone placed a bright blue bucket for

extra soccer balls and coats and

I'm tempted to add a Frisbee, some

excess gloves no longer needed here

or homemade cookies, wrapped in

festive plastic, even baseball caps

or children's books just for fun

You wouldn't believe the crazy stuff

I've seen this week, the places I've

been, the things found in unused

rooms, thirty years moved around in

boxes and bags, emotional and then

not, an over sized Christmas stocking

with Santa sitting on a train waving,

DADDY written in black Sharpie, the

worn tag cut off, thrown away as tears

well up then subside, oh the holy night

will show up in its time but the most

important things are already here

even my creche just needs dusting

after four years of waiting on a shelf

with wise men and camels fallen over

angels mixed up with sheep and Mary,

Joseph, the shepherds, somewhere

nearby I rest after baking and decorating

using live greens and all week I

showed up to everything just

barely on time and no one complained

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