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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

What he'd wanted for his sixth birthday was a toy gun, a
police badge, and handcuffs. But his parents didn't want
him playing with guns so he just got the handcuffs and a
stuffed reindeer. The reindeer's been a problem from the
start, hiding under the bed last week, and this morning he
found him crouched behind the door to his room. So the
boy decides to handcuff him, slipping the cuff first around
the reindeer's neck. He slaps the other cuff on his own
wrist, and so they stay until the reindeer promises to
behave. Then he can't get the cuff off. His mother can't get
the cuff off. His father can't get the cuff off. And the honest
to God policeman who comes to the house has a key that
doesn't fit and is worried bolt cutters might slip and injure
him. While they're waiting for the firemen his mother sits
him down, dries his tears, and tells him that there is no
Santa Claus.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.