The bearded old stranger peered
into the little boy’s window and
watched the sleeping child breathe
then made a note in the raggedy
spiral notebook he carried with him.
He came by every night to check on
little Kyle and take his notes–
usually writing Nice on the pad
before slinking off to the next house
where he would gaze fondly at Madison
one of his personal favorites.
One night the man’s presence
roused the family dog who howled
and he stumbled trying to run
through the bushes below Kyle’s room
and the twisted ankle kept him from
fleeing more effectively which meant
he was still limping off when the
neighborhood watch man approached
brandishing a pistol and yelling Halt!
The subsequent investigation
determined that the amateur patrolman
was within his rights under
the state’s Stand Your Ground law
when he used deadly force but
that didn’t make it any easier to
tell children everywhere why
Santa Claus was nothing more than
a blood-spattered chalk outline.