Fifty three members of my family (53!) met and spent a long weekend together in the Poconos over the Fourth of July. It was a wonderful long-overdue weekend spent reconnecting with family and reminiscing. Throughout all the laughter and conversation, I was so aware of those who weren’t gathered with us, yet were so present. Here’s my work in progress.
We gather at the family reunion
bursting with excitement,
greeting each other with laughter, hugs and
It’s been too long!
How many years has it been? and
Oh, I can’t believe how much you’ve grown
to the younger ones–
the next generation.
One evening we “older” cousins mingle and share
reminiscences of summers at the cottage
on Lake Huron’s rocky shore.
Do you remember?
Poppa Pat reading Paddle-to-the-Sea ?
Gigi’s three bean salad?
Parcheesi and Chinese checkers played
on the screened-in porch?
And the porch was always gritty with sand!
Yes! And upstairs, the walls didn’t reach the ceiling!
Wasn’t there a hammock?
I think there was a hammock…
Do you remember?
Each of us contributing
our own recollections
to create a larger, interconnected whole.
Oh! Oh! I remember that!
Our smiles warm and our memories bloom.
We all came from two.
In between us
the ghosts linger.
In my sister’s hand, cupped beneath her chin
I see my grandmother.
In a deep laugh from across the room,
I hear the echoes
of my grandfather’s booming baritone.
Each time I look at my cousin
or at his three daughters,
I see his wife’s face.
Their grief is so fresh it pulses
beneath the revelry.
And instead of three brothers hosting
this boisterous family gathering,
there are two.
Ghosts mingle at the family reunion
threading bittersweet through the joy.
Molly Hogan (c) 2016
If you’re interested in reading more poetry, visit Mary Lee’s blog, A Year of Reading, for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.