The Packages

The doorbell rang sharply
I threw off my blanket by the door
I answered to two high school kids
“Could you donate to the poor?”
“We’re taking cans, and money”
” clothing, gloves and jackets too”
“Is it in your heart to help us”
“can we get something from you?”
I said “Come back tomorrow”
“I’m a little short you see”
“I’ll be home from work directly”
“You can come here after three”
They smiled, “see you later”
said the tall one with the hat
“We’ll be back again tomorrow”
And I thought, that was that
I closed the door behind them
Went back and I sat down
I was reading by the fireside
Wrapped in an old dressing gown
The heat was off in most rooms
The house was small, and drafty too
I had to heat it with the fire
Or lose my heat all up the flue
I had no cash for cable
A computer? not a chance
I could barely pay the mortgage
I was in bad circumstance
The job I’d had forever
At least since I left school
Was gone now, plant was shuttered
They closed the old Majestic Tool
Three hundred sixty workers
Most had been there all their life
As had been their fathers
It’s where I met my wife
She left me when they closed up
Got an offer to head west
I told her take the offer
I told her “I think it’s for the best”
She hasn’t called in eighteen months
I got the papers for divorce
I figured, I can’t afford to call her
So, it’s just par for the course
I trip around the town by day
Getting meals where they are free
In a town as poor as we are
It’s not a real strange sight to see
There is no work around here
I’ll have to move within a year
If things don’t soon get better
I’ll try to stay real close to here
The morning after last night
You know, the one I spoke about
Where the kids came out collecting
And I pretended I was out
of food and cash and clothing
didn’t have a dime to spare
I would have loved to help a little
But I didn’t really dare
A can of food would last two days
Spaghetti, maybe three
Although I  wanted to contribute
I need these things for me
I went into the foodbank
The morning after the night before
I would get my Christmas hamper
Along with others, walking poor
I’d take it home, unpack it
And when the kids came by at three
I would give them, at least something
My word meant a lot to me
I didn’t have a lot of things
Not much was left at all
But, my word, was worth a fortune
I’d be there when they called
In the back, out of my vision
While I signed and took my box
Was one of the two students
Sorting through some coats and socks
I took off with my treasure
Set to donate when they came
I was robbing Peter to pay Paul
It was such a silly game
The boy went to the counter
He checked my address in the book
He then went to see the head man
He wanted him to take a look
He told him of their visit
How he recognized my face
He realized how much it hurt me
To be reliant on this place
They talked about my visit
And they saw my need was real
And they talked amongst the others
with elvish, Christmas zeal
I was waiting for the doorbell
Had two cans, and a small coat
When the doobell rang, I answered
There was four boxes and a note
Vacant space, they must have run
They had to be close by
What I saw there boxed before me
Well, it made this grown man cry
Instead of coming for donations
They knew how hard it was for me
They had brought along some blankets
And lots of food, for free
I picked the note up gingerly
I was still shaking from the tears
It said “Merry Christmas Mr. Watson”
“and Have a Happy, Safe New Year”.

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