Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "All Through the House"

*sleigh bells jingling*

This poem belongs to the Monster House series, which you can explore further on the Serial Poetry page.  It's not based on a specific prompt but is one of the holiday-themed poems that randomly appeared for this series.  It has been sponsored by the_vulture who says, "Blessed Yule/Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to everyone who enjoys the
Fishbowl!"


All Through the House


It was Christmas Eve and far from quiet
as chunks of ice clattered on the roof
from trees shedding the last of the ice storm's glaze.
Then came the sound of something heavier
and I wondered if a branch had hit the house.

Silence ...

I went back to inserting Tab A into Slot B
as I assembled the little wooden doll cradle
soon to take pride of place under the Christmas tree
waiting for our daughter's morning discovery.

Then a ruckus came from the chimney.
"Helph," said a muffled voice.
"mmm ... uck!"

I stuck my head into the fireplace
and looked up, but saw only darkness.
"You're stuck?" I called.

"That too," the voice said,
a little clearer now that I was closer.

"I'll get you out," I promised.
Then I backed out of the fireplace
and turned around.
"Quick, does anybody have an idea?"

The lurking shadow shrugged helplessly.
The dragon on the radiator hissed and went back to sleep.
The little old lady ghost had her hand over her mouth,
trying not to laugh.  "Gee, thanks," I said.

Then the bogeyman pushed past me
and knelt on the hearth.
"Stand back a bit," he said.
"I think I know a spell for this."
He pressed his white hands to the red bricks
and the chimney wall began to bend,
rippling like a snake swallowing a rat --
or rather, unswallowing,
as a large form landed in the fireplace.

Santa Claus crawled out and clambered to his feet,
black boots tracking slush over the floor
as he slapped clouds of soot from his furred robes.
"Thank you for your assistance," he said to the bogeyman.
"I'll just leave a few things and get going--"

I cleared my throat.
"Perhaps you should use the door,"
I suggested.

The shaggy white eyebrows rose.
"Well, now," said Santa,
"I haven't seen you  since you snuck down the stairs
to make sure your brother got his firetruck in the hospital."

"He said to say thank you."
I grinned.  The jolly old elf hadn't aged a day.

Suddenly we heard a cascade of crashing sounds
from overhead, and the roof shivered,
and then part of a reindeer came down between our heads.
Santa and I looked at the legs stuck through the ceiling.
"We bought the house as a fixer-upper,"
I said lamely.

"I see that you haven't finished 'fixing' the 'up' yet,"
said Santa.

"We hired a roofer," I protested
as a piece of plaster fell to the floor.

"If you get me a name," Santa hinted,
laying a finger alongside his nose,
"I can arrange a stocking full of coal."

I laughed
and gave him the business card.
"Now all we have to do
is get your reindeer out of my roof."

The bogeyman shook his head.
"I don't think I can budge a whole reindeer,"
he said.  "Besides, down  is easier than up."

"I suppose I'll have to ask the troll,"
I said with a sigh.  That would mean
going to the basement
and explaining to my wife
about Santa and the fireplace and the reindeer
and our sudden need to go buy some plaster.

Just then my wife came
tromping up the stairs from the basement
where we had laid out the wrapping station.
"What in the world is going on up here?" she said.
"It sounds like a herd of ... oh ... dear."

"Yes," I said with a wry smile.

"Sorry about the roof, ma'am," Santa said
with a polite tip of his red-and-white hat.

"Don't worry about it," she said.
"It's an honor to meet you." 
She peeled a green bow off her hip
and straightened her rumpled sweater.
"We're not going to get in trouble
for seeing you though, are we?"

"Nah," said Santa with a wave of his hand.
"You're overage.  You're allowed
to be up after midnight."

"Oh, good," said my wife.
"I'd hate to start out on the wrong foot."

"As long as we're stuck here for a while ...
and since you're up anyway ..."
Santa said tentatively, "do you suppose
you could take a look at my sleigh?
The GPS is on the fritz again."

What girl geek
wouldn't  give her left wrench-loop
for a peek under the dash of Santa's sleigh?
She was out the window, atop the porch,
and up on the sloping roof
before I could say a word.

I trotted downstairs to ask the troll
about lifting the poor reindeer out of its hole.
Then I went to the kitchen like a good host
and filled a plate with hard salami, white cheddar cheese,
and slices of bread.  I uncorked a bottle of wine,
hooked some glasses in my fingers, and said,
"I thought you might be tired of milk and cookies."

Santa threw back his head and laughed,
belly shaking shamelessly.
"Bless you," he said,
and poured the wine for all of us.
Even the bogeyman had a glass.

When my wife came back in
I handed her a share of the wine
and the nearly empty plate.
"So what was wrong with the sleigh?"
I asked.

She gave a secret smile and replied,
"I couldn't say.  I'm sure that's privileged information.
It should work fine now, though."

"I'd best get back to work, then," said Santa.
From his sack he drew a beautiful babydoll;
a wave of his hand finished the cradle
and he nestled the doll inside it.
Then he brought out a set of blocks
and stacked them into impossible positions,
some leaning out over empty space.

"I can't wait to see her face
when she comes downstairs
and discovers those blocks," I said.
"I had a set just like them when I was little."

"I remember," said Santa.  Then he handed me a bag.
"This should take care of your roof.  Merry Christmas, all."
With that he walked out the door.

My wife looked into the clinking bag, then said,
"Do you have any idea how
we're going to exchange gold for cash money?"

"No problem, I'll take care of it," said the bogeyman.

My wife stared at us both.

"Don't ask," I said. 
"Just ... don't ask."

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, holiday, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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  • 13 comments

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