Dream you are in an empty room
where your memories are brimming
with others opening gifts.
Everyone appearing elated. Fulfilled.

Soon, you receive your own first gift
tagged from persons unknown
wrapped up, warm, like a shared coffee.

You hold your hands briefly
before you swipe open.
Sweet whispers of oblivion echo back.
Startled. You toss it aside—
ravage the second one,
the third, the fourth, the fifth…
hollowness spills forth like an oil slick.

Finally (as hopelessness licks its lips)
thirty-two evokes a gasp.
It is beautiful.
It is intoxicating.
It is everything.
You love it.

Without words. It vanishes.
You are empty.

New gifts flirt as they amass.

Back to opening.
More hold heavy disappointment,
but you continue onto the next, because.
Because of thirty-two.

Finally! Seventy-one contains something.
It is nice.
It is interesting.
It is comfort.
You like it.

You forget the room for a while.
Time goes by, but soon
the gift you enjoy begins to fade.

The room is growing cold.
Growing small.
Isolation kisses at your bones
as the gifts present a reprieve.

Weeks pass before your next
non-empty gift.

You appreciate it.
It does not vanish.
It does not fade.
You are happy.

You are careless.
You drop it.
It shatters.

Unopened gifts pile up.
You shiver.
Hands cracked and worn.
Millions of frigid boxes
and naught ribbons, separated.
Most contain despair. If anything.
Joy fleeting like startled birds.

Bound between
the life-draining monotony
of gift opening and
the claustrophobic solitude
of the empty room.
Expectations dissolve.
You open the last gift

curious why so many were empty.