Photography © Jennifer Matthews


Christmas Stairs

Even barely padded toddler bum cheeks
bounce just enough in fleece PJs.
The bumpity slide and thump
is after all straight to the stockings,
coarsely bulging with an orange and
nuts and a wide candy cane hooked
over one edge, the lip with your name.
Oh, and a storybook box of Life Savers,
12 rolls per book.

The other mornings all year are dull.
The view is of Reader’s Digest condensed books,
(the pre-chewed wisdom of all those)
for the Greatest Generation and their parents.

18 shiny maple steps to breakfast
and 36 stair posts, each of which we
had to dust once a week, —
Wednesday if you please. or if you don’t.

Christmas morning, we entertained
sthe watching elders
by merely opening presents.


Michael Ball scrambled from newspapers through business and technical pubs. Born in OK and raised in rural WV, he became more citified in Manhattan and Boston. One of the Hyde Park Poets, he has moderate success placing poems including in Griffel, Gateway Review, Havik Anthology, SPLASH!, Peregrine Journal, In Parentheses, Spillwords, It’s All About Arts, and Reality Break Press.

Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.