by Michael Brockley
This year you build a Nativity scene with a green Tyrannosaurus Rex leering into the stable. Its buck teeth glisten whenever a car turns down your block, and its torpid tail reminds you how fragile your knowledge has grown. Batman straddles the roof as if he has rappelled down the side of a Bethlehem skyscraper. The Native American Thunderbird from your bolo tie affixed to the roof serves as the crèche star. This is the year the redhead left you for a stuntman she met at Sundance. The year your veterinarian injected pentobarbital into your last dog’s thigh. You position three Darth Vadars on the straw while Homer’s son bangs on a Lego drum. A rhinoceros and a one-eared kangaroo shiver across the dying campfire from the dinosaur. Frigid or fearful. You’ve never figured it out. Conan the Barbarian kneels at the fire, feeding it scraps of Hershey Kiss wrappers. Discarded holiday ribbons. His battle ax strapped across his back. Wile E. Coyote peeks from behind the Lands’ End shoe box that serves as the stable. You hum “Blue Christmas” and “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” while propping Spiderman and Daredevil behind a menagerie of rat finks and bobbleheads, memorizing the songs for your soundtrack of holiday carols. From within the shadows, a black-and-white Jessica Rabbit stands beside her Joseph, a blind Mr. Spock. In the manger, lined with cotton balls from your cholesterol prescription and strands of your late dog’s pale hair, you place the child you no longer believe in. You wonder what gifts your Magi would bring.
Bio: Michael Brockley is a 67-year-old school psychologist who works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, The New Verse News, The Rat's Ass Review and Panoplyzine. Forthcoming poems can be found in Atticus Review, Gargoyle and Zingara Poetry Picks.