Place at the Table

Winter solstice today, it always seems an oddity that just as winter officially begins the light returns. Genius and thank goodness.

Place at the Table

Let someone new
come to dinner this holiday,
your inner dead beat son,
your inherent pregnant
teenage daughter,
take his coat,
pull up the footstool for her.

Even if it is only you
and your wife at Denny’s
because the kids are all grown
and have moved from your small town,
ask for a booth, let others slide in.
Welcome “High Water,” you at age eight
who grew so fast your pants were too short,
do you remember climbing trees?
“Little Sis” with the pigtails, and pink barrettes,
she has missed you.

If you are already at a gathering,
excavate those oldtimers
with those little baby tongs
used to grab sugar cubes,
pluck some sweet aspect of you
that is your unfamiliar.
If the beast in you has gone missing,
wear a fur hat in his honor.
When you speak with another
over the appetizers,
even if you discussing the weather
or your favorite football team,
imagine their multitudes.

They come anyway.
I have pet named my exiled Beloved.
She is twenty-one and wears
a crop top with low waisted jeans.
If I don’t save some sparkly for her,
she will flirt with your husband
and finish off the Kahlua.
There is a reason your brother’s kids
irritate the hell out of you
or your mother-in-law makes
you want to stab yourself
with the meat thermometer.

There is nothing wrong,
there is nowhere to go,
you feel lonely because you are not all there.
No one else needs to arrive
except your true natures,
the banished and belittled ones,
all who have been unwelcome and forgotten.
Pull up some chairs, closest to the fire.