Christmas Day

Late afternoon
but it felt like midnight
slouched on the couch in a drowse
the room lit by the television
my father started to snore
I looked at my watch
not even 4pm

I grabbed my jacket
stepped out into a slap of a day
a white world
the first white Christmas in years
I jogged around the corner
knocked on the door
his mother answered
we exchanged happy Christmases
she shouted for him
he bounded down the stairs
“What’s up?”
“Not much.”
“Christmas eh?”

he grabbed his jacket
we hopped into his mother’s car
hit the road
turned up the music
the world was empty
we sung to it

came to St. Anne’s Park
parked the car
took a ball from the boot
our breath was white too
as we walked to the locked gates
and scaled them
the way teenagers can

240 acres
all our own
we walked to a pitch
blanketed perfectly with snow
put the ball down
got to passing
short and long, high and low
we took turns in goal
shooting and saving
picked our corners
watched the ball cut through the white
the muffled sounds of our strikes
the coughing caws of winter birds
the beautiful pointlessness of it all

darkness came down
quick and hard
put an end to us
we traipsed back to the car
leaving behind
a thousand dirty footprints in the snow
and other things
  • Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He is the author of two chapbooks and two collections. Twice winner of Irish Times' New Irish Writing, his numerous publication credits include Poetry Ireland Review, Acumen, Prairie Fire, Westerly and Into the Void. He has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best New Poet and has been twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize.

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