It's fine to call them caribou
And wonder at migrations that
They make in their cold habitat,
But you can call them reindeer too.
The females and the males both wear
Broad antlers that they drop each year.
Old males lose theirs with winter frost.
By spring, the females too have lost
Their antlers after calves are born.
Come summer, antlers are reborn.
Their hollow hair is perfect for
Protecting them on chilly nights
Beneath the shifting Northern Lights.
In winter, we recall old lore
Of Father Christmas and his sleigh
Swift reindeer pull on holiday.
The reindeer hoof is big and flat,
Designed especially so that
Their steps on rooftop snow will be
Completely firm and trouble-free.
Of creams and browns their coat is made,
With muzzle in a darker shade.
Saint Nicholas companions true,
Eight reindeer are his Yuletide crew.
©2016 Michael Fraley
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