The Problem of Worldwide Simultaneous Delivery
The method of distribution baffles her.
The white-bearded man in the department store
who said it was by magic was duly scorned –
magic is no answer, except in stories.
She likes those, knowing that beanstalks
can’t really grow to reach a sky where giants live,
that even with the help of dwarves
miller’s daughters can’t spin straw to gold.
The problem is, there are real presents
in her room on Christmas morning.
She knows why aeroplanes don’t flap their wings,
why ripples in a pool move as they do,
why insects are so small, and why ice floats.
She accepts, for now, the limits to her understanding
but can’t quite cope with the impossible.
And she is satisfied, for now, with quantum physics –
Father Christmas as a worldwide quantum wave
of which each particle leaves presents for a single child,
a wave that would collapse if any boy or girl woke up
and saw a quantum of him. She will be a scientist.
First published by Indigo Dreams Publishing
Barbara Cumbers earned her living as an information officer in the NHS and is a former associate lecturer in geology for the Open University. She lives in London, with a husband and two cats. Her first full collection, A Gap in the Rain is due out from Indigo Dreams