The Larger Circle
The turkey, the green bean casserole,
The sweet potato soufflé, and the
Macaroni and cheese all take turns
In the oven.
That, of course, only after the turkey
Is golden brown and laid out
On the carving board awaiting the work
Of the knife.
Finally it’s my time—my special time—
To whip the tablecloth into the air,
To fluff it and then to settle it
Over the table.
Mother’s china, mother-in-law’s crystal,
Our own silver from our twenty-fifth
Are laid out, readied for all nineteen to appear
‘Round the table.
We wish the others could show up—
Mother taking delight in her old china or
Mom ecstatic that her crystal never found its way
To the Goodwill!
Daddy would take delight in father/son projects
Done in the garage and backyard,
Dad would smile over son’s favorite chair shared
Always with a grandchild or two.
We will pull up no additional chairs,
Set no other plates or knives or forks,
But when we hold hands to say grace we are sure
They are there—
Their hands holding each of ours
Our Old House
Have scarcely been around
Long enough to boast
A sense of history or shared memories.
But our old house—
That’s different story.
For she has held
Family after family—
Smiled with them as they
Carved out a corner for
A new baby they would
Welcome in their midst.
Encouraged them as
Funds ran short and as
Pantry shelves emptied
Without a garden harvest in sight.
Whispered reassurance as they
Sent sons and daughters off to war
And grieved with them when they
Learned there would be no “Welcome-homes!”
We ask ourselves,
“Have they moved or
Are they here with us,
Spectators into the lives of still another family?”
“Will we feel their presence
As we lift up Thanksgiving prayers?
Will we find unlabeled packages under the tree,
Gifts of wisdom from a century’s-worth of residents?”
The Move to Winterville: Fifteenth House/Forty-four Years
It’s the fifteenth house in forty-four years.
The giant truck arrives,
the movers hoisting boxes
and heavy furniture.
All day long they bark,
“Where do ‘ya want this?”
And with great expertise
she waves her arms and
indicates spots about the house.
Then with tender care she ponders
over the grand piano,
seeking to-the-inch precision
as to its placement
on the living room floor.
And all day long
people stop by to offer
their words of welcome,
to say, “Hope you’ll be happy here!”
At evening they
park tired bodies on the sofa
facing the fireplace,
holding hands and sipping
hot chocolate from the only
cups they could find
amidst the massive chaos.
It—like many gone before—
is a new beginning.