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A Countylines Christmas

December 2022

No exciting build-up, no Christmas crescendo,

A tightly held child, on the precipice of death.

End of term looming, safe haven no more,

'I have school', at least some cover .

Wish lists and top-wants, suddenly none,

Safety now, is all that's sought.

Yearly plans and protests, who'll do what,

Mind and body absent, the silence so odd.

Life-risking taskings, merry Christmas no more,

A world away, no laughter, no hope.

Choice-less journeys far and wide,

Must keep delivering, or who'll save our souls.

Empty bedroom, siblings saddened.

How to explain, Christmas so discoloured.

Flashbacks to shenanigans, thick-as-thieves,

Tip-toes and spying pressies, come Christmas Eve.

Chimney visitors, Rudy's glitter paw-prints,

Robotic functioning, as parents' hearts bleed.

'Can't do Christmas' an inevitable feel,

As kids count down, to the twenty-fifth.

Heart panics and pounds on Christmas morn,

Needs and deeds must, or the day won't be done.

A melee of tinsel, paper and mess,

Those still-wrapped presents, now out of place.

Children catch sadness in moments of hope,

'We'll keep these safe, for when he's home.'

Christmas dinner ready but 'can we wait some more',

Empty chair the focus, all hearts re-broken.

Christmas fare is spread, but feels all wrong,

Eyes on door, god let there be steps on the lawn.

Days then weeks, wrapped presents bring grief,

Better late than never, hope families.

For some, Christmas forays will beckon,

Parents securing a precious life transaction.

Lifeless souls carrying envelopes of hope,

Handed to those who swear they won't talk.

Each Christmas worse than the one just gone,

This won't be known, 'til the years clock on.

Forever braced for that dreaded knock on the door,

On a Countylines Christmas, or today, or tomorrow.

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