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Family Reunion…a poem

April 20, 2013

They were all shy with each other,
stumbling around, giving everybody space,
the few sorry attempts at conversation
stuttered in isolated, rigid words, food balanced
on collapsing paper plates their
buckler against intimacy.

All came screaming into the world
mishaps to mothers desperate
to get back to their shift at the tire plant,
living childhoods
on the edge of their parents’ conspiracy,
the two scheming against debt,
pushing now and then
a toy or smile to
the interrupting child
then turning back to each other.

Uneasy partners
the husband busted loose,
the mother sought other men
and the child traveled
from grandparents to in-laws to family friends
learning not to depend anyone or expect
much during
a stiff, defensive life.

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