It is oddly distant, seen through the window,
only more so through binoculars.
I am the only one watching—Arlen is asleep,
receiving a blood transfusion.
He is not excited; he is tired.
I imagine many of the children are sleeping,
and as many watching TV,
as are actually watching from the VIP section.
I can’t imagine the parade means much
to the longtime patients here.
It’s one way or another—
either there is no Santa Claus, or
he’s here everyday—giving some a future,
while others die waiting for their present.
It is the bands marching by silently
that starts me crying, Play you bastards, play,
serenade those kids you pass, let them hear
your horns blow, drums pound, all and any amount of sound
you can manage to commemorate the ones still here,
and let each note remind Santa of the ones who are gone.