by Pam Tanzey
Santa comes quietly long before dawn
While shops are still busy and lights are still on
While dinners are cooking and kitchens are warm
And children count presents they’ll open by morn.
He slips past the trees in windows aglow
Through the gate to the backyard
As icy winds blow
To find the pup he brought last year
Chained up in the snow
And, kneeling, he whispers,
“Are you ready to go?”
There are too many stops like this one tonight
Before the beginning of his regular flight
He leaves not a note or footprint in sight
Just an unbuckled collar
On a cold Christmas night….
• Pam won a Maxwell Award for excellence in Poetry in 1998 from the Dog Writers Association of America for this poem.