Shop owners reeve thin twine through Yuletide wreaths

of pine and holly, bejeweled with white night

lights and perched on street posts for a few brief

weeks. Locals listen to Bing Crosby’s "White

Christmas" careen down carless downtown streets

through tinny, town-hall speakers.

Traffic lights blink at unabashed black-backed gulls who eat

discarded shards of saltwater taffy

dropped by tired toddlers. Fat Santas greet elfin children.

Winter winds blow chaffy

sand from nearby bay and beach, as shoppers

seek shelter in the mom-and-pop coffee

shop, or church with spires of green copper. 

Sweeder writes from Ocean City.