. Long the shadow that it casts, Christmas present, o’er our pasts. In its darkness made to bask, Mumbling carols through a mask. Oh, the distance we observe. No resistance, gone our nerve. Cowering in abject fear, We no longer gather near. Through the mail, gifts we exchange. Can it get more cold and strange? Safety now at any cost, Dignity forever lost. As our souls within us freeze, Heal us, Baby Jesus, please. . . Joe Tessitore is a retired New York City resident and poet.