exists only on this morning every year, these homes stand shoulder to shoulder like painted toy soldiers: chests pushed out, stomachs tucked in, proud and protective of all within, like an Army of Secrets.
And houses on Christmas morning are indeed treasure chests of hidden truths. A wreath on a door like a finger upon a lip; blinds down like closed eyelids. Then, at some unspecified time, a warm glow will appear beyond the drawn curtains, the smallest hint of something happening inside. Like stars in the night sky gradually appearing to the naked eye, lights go on behind the blinds and curtains in the half-light of dawn. One at a time, like tiny pieces of gold being re