silent night (one)

it’s christmas eve at eleven fifteen
near Brea’s Best, the 7-11 was still

right across Brea Boulevard
sat an empty parking lot
and a half-lit sign pulsating
“Regency Inn.”

Anil sold me a half-gallon of milk,
a half-gallon of egg nog.
in exchange for a ten dollar bill as i
wished him a very merry holiday season.

before i left, we started talking and he
mentioned his friend,
who owned the Regency Inn.

Anil continued to express how
Rajeev was always depressed
on this night
every year.

he couldn’t understand it
because he was blinded
by all the cash
in his register.

my only response, my only thought:
Rajeev could use a visit.
i bought a 3-pack of candy canes
as a tool to tell him about jesus.

i jay-walked across — looking
both ways — politely waving
at the big-ass SUV between Ash
Avenue and Elm Street.

Right away i noticed an old Buick.
the only car in the lot
in the labeled “Manager” spot.

the VACANCY sign flickered
but attracted
no business
that night.

the front door lobby greeted me
with a chime.
i returned the welcome by softly saying,
“Raj, it’s Christmastime.”

he said, “Hello sir” through his long gray
beard with an accent -don’t know- middle eastern?
he looked through a tired and scraggily
yellowish curtain.

i asked,
“how’s business?”
he looked,

i felt dumb, but it broke the ice.
i told him i wasn’t a salesman
but that i was just
being nice.

“verywell then sir”
speaking of business, he
mentioned a mother and her
two daughters

were staying at the Inn. but
i reminded him the parking lot
was only occupied by leaves
blowing in the wind.

then i questioned,
“is that Buick theirs?”
“no, it’s mine… would
you like a room for the night?”

i had suddenly forgotten about
sharing jesus and the candy canes.
when i looked across the atrium
the clock had passed into the next day.

displayed was room one one one
on the placard, well illuminated.
the shadows in the window
had me fascinated.

and my head
filled with
so many questions
about the situation.

Rajeev was polite enough to
point out that my jaw
had dropped
to the floor

i apologized
and excused myself
as i walked out
the front door

i couldn’t believe my eyes
i could have written
a book
about the feelings i had inside.

arms stretched out wide like an angel,
the woman was standing on the bed.
like peter pan, all three
in their night gowns.

both girls were hanging ornaments on her
as she twirled around.
i could see the joy, even though
i could not hear a sound.

their silhouette’s i watched as if it
were a puppet show.
i bet i would get along with them.
i would! i just know.

but i’m aware of how weird
and creepy that seems, so
i continued to watch this
wonderful christmas story.

the girls played patty cake,
patty cake
as mother disappeared into the

returning as the baker’s man
with two face-towel-wrapped
one in each hand.

the girls took turns and watched
one another peel back
the terry cloth

from my view, each girl
received the same doll, but
from the view inside, it seemed
they were invited to the ball.

that night. there
in that room. there

was agape love
stars shining bright
from up above
afar a life gone

the wind picked up, i was
cold. i started crying
there’s things i had to know.

i approached the door.
it was a silent holy night.
i knocked.

then vanished.
as i left
the 3-pack

of red and white