’Twas the Night After Christmas

December 23, 2014


Lawrance Bernabo
The Sneezing Opossum

Twas the night after Christmas,

in the house of Ness
And Laura’s confronting another fine mess.
The kids had new toys left all over the floor,
While on the couch her husband started to snore.

The mayor slept the sleep of one quite well fed,
While dreams of retirement danced in his head.
This time, he was wearing a red baseball cap,
And on Field of Dreams he was running a lap.

When out from the corn, there came a new batter,
Who looked like Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter.
But instead of swinging, he batted a lash,
Tore open his wallet, and pulled out some cash.

“Tell me, Don,” he said, “I just have to know;
How much can I pay you to not want to go?”
Then what under Don’s soulful eyes did appear,
But the slow moving track of a single shed tear.

It looked like it danced—’twas some sort of trick—
And his voice with emotion grew rather thick.
“This isn’t about fortune, money, or fame.
It’s about Duluth’s problems,”
And he called them by name:

“Now potholes! Now Carlson!
Now snow and casino!
First this! Then that! And the things we don’t know!
To the top of the list! To the top of the blog!
No wonder my mind’s in a perpetual fog.”

I thought he might break down and sit there and cry;
But instead all he did was heave a big sigh.
“As mayor, you have a list of things you must do,
And from the first day, that list only grew.

“But I still must admit, and this is the truth,
I really loved being mayor of Duluth.”
Then back on his couch, Don was coming around;
He woke with a start and jumped up with a bound.

Looking about, to be sure he was awake,
He now regretted gobbling that eighth piece of cake.
Wherever he’d been, he was glad to be back
To finish his chores, before hitting the sack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! His chin, so unfurry.
(He could grow a beard, if you weren’t in a hurry.)
He cleaned up the kitchen, his face all aglow,
Putting away dishes sure beat shoveling snow.

’Twas true, this job made him grind his teeth,
Both tortured his nights and filled days with grief.
Business lunches had sated his round little belly,
And each morning there were doughnuts,
sometimes with jelly;

He said, as he put the plates back on the shelf,
“I’ve done a good job, if I say so myself.”
His mind was still racing as he went off to bed;
He gave his wife a smile and then he said:

“I give you my word, it takes a lot of hard work,
And whoever fills my sox, they can’t be a jerk.”
Then the long winter’s night, it came to a close;
Don slipped into bed for his nightly repose.

He got under the covers, gave Laura a kiss, said,
“There are parts of this job I am not going to miss.”
But she heard him mutter,
ere he turned out the light—
“Whoever comes next better fight the good fight.”

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