Claudia Gary


Seasonal Décor Contest

The neighbor’s large inflatable
figures will trump our wreaths,
although his taste’s debatable:
Santa reveals red briefs

embroidered “Happy Holidays.”
A reindeer slyly beckons.
Up in an outhouse one elf stays,
peers out each seven seconds

to see a snowman grimace, clap,
and sing without a care.
Oh yes, our neighbor’s on the map.
We haven’t got a prayer.


Your mother said to straighten it
and then add goo and curlers.
Your classmates didn’t care a bit,
except the punks and twirlers.

Your girlfriends asked to play with it,
then offered good suggestions.
Your enemies made fun of it
and asked the rudest questions.

Your boss says only, “Keep it neat.”
Your colleagues claim they love it.
The talk shows say you’ll feel complete
with hair that others covet.

Your women friends say, “Shape it.”
Your man friend isn’t saying.
Now classmates plead, “Just color it,
so no one knows we’re graying.”

A 2013 and 2015 finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and 2013 semifinalist for the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, Claudia Gary is the author of Humor Me (David Robert Books, 2006) and several chapbooks. She writes, edits, sings, and composes (tonally) in the Washington D.C. area. Her poems appear in anthologies such as Forgetting Home (Barefoot Muse, 2013) and Villanelles (Everyman Press, 2012), as well as in journals internationally. Her articles on health appear in The VVA Veteran, VFW, and other magazines. For more info, see