How I Met Santa Claus in the Off-Season at a Roman Watchtower in Germany

Light dim within this whitewashed

reconstruction, yet his blue eyes twinkle,

his beard shines full snowy, his hair curls

to yellow, he bustles big and cheerful.

Wire-rimmed glasses, of course.


October, ground leaf-muddy, skies gray

and in this out-of-the-way museum,

he warms to the English, warming

mostly to the freckled girl. She nods wisely

at his strongly German strigil, sword, shield.


Now he takes a bowl, two thousand years

old, lets her hold it how the young soldier

once did, his named carved in the bottom:

Matreus. He speaks as if he knew him.

Perhaps he did. The auxiliary troops, he says,


were mostly local men. He mentions

how the earth still shows marks of the wall.

Does she feel this same awe of connection,

gifted down through the years? The tower

closes for winter tomorrow. Our guide


looks surprised at the thought

of a holiday.


6 thoughts on “How I Met Santa Claus in the Off-Season at a Roman Watchtower in Germany”

    1. I was meaning to write a poem about the history, the way I try to make myself feel the past…but this character wanted to be known! He was so interesting, so charming, so knowledgeable. I’m glad you liked it!

      Liked by 1 person

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