Family Reunion


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.

Family Reunion
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.
Only 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.
Only two.

Ghosts mingle at the family reunion
threading bittersweet through the joy.

Molly Hogan (c) 2016

family reunion

If you’re interested in reading more poetry, visit Mary Lee’s blog, A Year of Reading, for this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.



12 thoughts on “Family Reunion

  1. Touching, heartfelt poem. Thanks for taking us along this past Fourth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. maryleehahn says:

    I’m jealous of big extended families that stay close. You’ve captured the spirit well in your poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alice Nine says:

    I love it! I love how “in between us the ghosts linger” introduced a stanza about those who have died.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda Baie says:

    Those ghosts do linger, and you’ve shown us much in this poem. How wonderful that you all gathered, and remembered, and grieved too. I love being with my cousins, and it doesn’t happen very often. Thanks for sharing your time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How wonderful to be together like this to share memories and make new ones! The truth of these lines, though, bring tears: “Ghosts mingle at the family reunion / threading bittersweet through the joy.” Thank you for sharing your family with us, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I think those ghosts are only visible to members of the older generations, Catherine. (I still find it hard to believe that I’m now one of an “older” generation!)


  6. Tabatha says:

    How beautiful your large, interconnected whole is, even with the pieces that are only invisibly present. Thanks for sharing this, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Laura Shovan says:

    There are so many wonderful details in this poem, Molly. The board games! The sound of grandfather’s booming baritone. You made me wish my own family would have a reunion.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I miss family reunions. My family doesn’t have them anymore. We are all too spread out. Great poem. I’m sure there was a hammock. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Brenda, we came from Minnesota and Maine and South Carolina and many points in between. It was a big effort as we hadn’t gathered in over a decade. The other side of my family has been having annual reunions since the year I was born and they take place all over the country. This year’s was in Lake Tahoe! I didn’t make it to that one, but the 50th is in NYC so I should be there next year! (Can you figure out how old I’ll be next year??? lol)

      Liked by 1 person

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