always arrived in a green van
un-wrapping and re-wrapping
the forgotten shapes of gifts.
hung wet blankets in the doorways
hoping for a breeze
that would stir the stiffling heat
and keep the sherry trifle firm.
complained of a belly-ache
among other things
after eating all the chocolate
from gifts that would never be.
knobbly-kneed, quiet and gentle
bestowed no gift
to those who had crossed him
in his living memory.
flung themselves, pinging
at the screen door like popped corn
under the porch light.
folding crumpled paper flat
eating ham again,
the languid days stretched out before me
until the next school year began.