Her shabby clothes a size too small,
the six-year-old girl is being subjected
to disapproving looks. She cares not at all.
To her talking with Santa, none has objected.
The line to sit in Santa’s lap is quite long.
This upscale mall is doing brisk business.
Some parents whispering she doesn’t belong
with their kids doesn’t dampen her eagerness.
One after another, each recites their wish list
to Santa. “I want a bike, a computer game,
a TV for my room. I want…Now don’t miss
anything on my list. I want…” Ever the same.
The little girl’s turn has finally come.
All smiles, she crawls into the big man’s lap.
She talks softly to him. They talk until some
mother, filled with modern holiday spirit, snaps
“Hurry up, Santa! Why are you giving her so
much time?” Santa takes a list from her hand,
kisses her cheek, sends her away smiling. “No
more now. Santa’s on a break.” A security man,
assigned to protect Santa, follows him into
the break room. Tears are wetting Santa’s
synthetic beard. “This is one list I intend to
see filled! “Gimme. Gimme” is the mantra
that I hear all day every day from child after child.
This sweet girl lives in a homeless shelter downtown.
Her list has winter clothes, a few toys to bring smiles
to some kids who last year by Santa weren’t found.”
The guard, “ Were some new clothes for her one thing
on her list?” “For herself she asked for absolutely nothing.”