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Christmas Cards

Lotte Kramer

Slip through the letter box with messages:

Some bland, some more intense, some aching with

Bereavements, wives abandoned, loss of jobs.


The annual contact on a patient card.

‘See you next year’ some say and quite forget

Before the ink is dry.   A plaster patch


That leaves no sticky mark on minor wounds

However much the cover faces please

With coloured art or kitsch or nearly art.


One threatens every time in wiry script

‘This is the last card I shall send.  I am

Too old now’.  Still it slides into my hand.


And there is one that comes anonymous,

Unsigned, the postmark adds its mystery,

A smudge, a ghost behind this paper mask?


Perhaps there’ll be a few to tuck away

After the show, in an old envelope,

Fingered at times because the sender once


Carved hope into a fraction of your years;

Or others will imply ‘I am still here’ -

A comma on your page a life ago.


From The Interpreter's House No 7 (February 1998)