The Gospel of Luke
I’m always woken up by the bright lamp,
I catch him nearly every night at my desk,
He writes on pieces of notebook paper torn
from his journal.
he loves ball-point pens
because he can write in blue.
he mutters gospel gospel gospel gospel
& I never bother to ask what he means.
I buy him little canvases like
the ones I paint on,
set him up in the kitchen with
a cup of water & paper towels
to blot the brushes.
when Saint Luke paints
it’s always abstract,
purples & lavenders &
mauves & threads of gold.
he points to his art
& says God is speaking.
I have wanted to believe
him for a long time,
but tonight I don’t.
Jesus crawl out from under
the sink where he had been hiding
& sits in my lap while we
watch Luke work.
Luke points to
Jesus smiles, saying
I love them—I love them
it’s a new gospel
& this time it’s the truth.
I don’t ask him if the last gospel
was a lie.
there are many ways
to make a truth.
the real Santa Claus is the one
at the mall by our house.
even the biggest believer usually admits
that they don’t believe in mall Santas
they know the mall-santa's beard
is plastic & that his stomach
is just a big pillow.
i went to take a picture with him
even though i'm old now
& shouldn't take pictures with Santa.
i climbed up on his lap
& i told him that i want to be real
for christmas. he didn't
ask what i mean. he just nodded
& told me that he would try his best.
i trust him.
later, you tell me that you never
really believed in Santa at all.
i want to convince you somehow
but all i can say is that
the man i saw was Santa. i know
that he paces the hallways
of the mall at night. that he
takes off his beard & his belly,
a skinny, tired man, looking
in all the shop windows at his
likenesses, snow globes & inflatables.
he resembles none of the Santas.
he doesn't believe in Santa some nights
& then he remembers that he's real
& he gets back to reciting the names
of all the children in the world
in alphabetical order starting
with Aan. sitting on a bench
across from Louis Vuitton
he wants a handbag for himself.
he wants to walk outside &
be selfish once in a while.
he would ask for a fresh pear
or some other ripe fruit
(all he's eaten for days is
soft pretzels & Chick-Fil-A)
i wish i could tell him that he's
allowed to not do it all this year
but i can only watch him,
i pin the photograph of us
to my bed room wall & Santa
tosses pennies in the mall fountain
Robin Gow's poetry has recently been publish in POETRY magazine, The Gateway Review, and Tilde. He is the editor at large of Village of Crickets and is the social medial coordinator for Oyster River Pages.