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Santa -- poetry by Isabella Dunsby

ever since I could count the coins

in my father’s pockets

i’ve known.

ever since I could hear the creak

of my father’s footsteps

and feel the creases of his mouth widen into a smile as he hangs

a stocking on my doorknob

from the way he pauses

three steps at a time

the way he breathes, heavy

out of his mouth

i’ve known it’s not Santa for a long while.

when we wake, he asks us if we'd heard the reindeer hooves on the roof we say yes every time.

he asks us

how d’you reckon Santa reached all those little boys and girls?

we shake our heads in disbelief.

every year

it’s less about the North Pole

and more about campuses that stretch across

The East Coast.

it’s fewer letters to the Tooth Fairy

and more to us, three thousand miles away

with every frown

every thoughtful fold of his forehead,

he runs his fingers across his withered chin,

tugging on the wrinkled skin

that sags off his neck.

I see Santa, tired and

longing for our love,

for the coins in his pockets to be enough

I don’t believe in Santa anymore

but for my father, I will.


Isabella Dunsby is a sophomore attending an international school in Seoul, South Korea. She loves poetry, jazz music, and going on long walks with her puppy, Lily. She has just recently embarked on a journey into the literary world and is excited to see where it takes her in the future.

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