is placed placid on the polish
of a wood piano.
It has spent eleven months
wrapped in a berry-red napkin
at the tinsel filled bottom of a plastic bin
marked “Holiday,” stuck in last year’s
tree needles, between a glass menorah
and a cracked ornament.
It stands on leaden legs,
until one evening my daughter
gives him life, lifts him to fly through
flickering lights and cinnamoned air,
landing him so he can help pull
a sleigh through cotton-ball snow.
The next morning, she carries
him in her palm, leans him
over the rim of her half-eaten bowl
of frosted cereal, so he can drink
deep from the sweet, milky lake,
then lets him graze in the carpet yard
of Barbie’s Malibu dream house.
That afternoon, she gallops
the reindeer over to visit
a gingerbread castle, peppermint
candied, dotted with jellies, constructed
near a pile of mandarin orange rinds
and a glossy beach shell.
She leans her ear near
his eyeless head, breathes in citrus
as she hears him sigh, sees the world
reflected in his shiny body.
Alexandra Umlas lives in Huntington Beach, CA and is currently an MFA student in the Poetry program at California State University, Long Beach.