The Man In The Back Room

Up at the crack of dawn and
working Saturdays and Sundays, too,
meet the man in the back room.
After all, Christmas is just weeks away.
Sixteen-hour days are the norm.

Hunched over a keyboard
he calculates the pluses and minuses,
tries to balance every account.
Separating the good from the naughty.
And he’s only through the C’s.

Consider his frayed nerves,
the world’s children await a verdict
to their petition for leniency.
Alone in that back room, he can’t be
blamed if numbers are fudged.

Having finished the list,
on Christmas Eve, pale and haggard,
Santa’s helper finally emerges.
There’s just time enough to purchase
his wife’s annual poinsettia.

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