Inside a house they reassemble—
food an operation on the table,
dogs sealed against the back steps
waiting for the blessed day’s remains,
and a world of neighbors knows
to leave their gifts and wishes at the door—
then they eat and eat, clear, clean the table,
move to the kitchen and rumble family tales
til the ancestors sound, drown the silver clatter—
no bounds here to joyful noise because it’s family—
then disappear, each wandering off
to a silent, private nest, where
inside the cocoon of sleep will grow
the shapes and skills of being in this family.
One by one they’ll wake to a new world,
take ball, gun, racquet, cards—some
instrument of fun to play with another—
and the skills of this family bloom, reborn
in their memory, in the movement of hands, voices, feet,
the presence of children coming of age or an aunt
who carries the same genes of natural talent,
some newly awakening, some reawakening,
recognizing themselves in the mirror
of each other’s faces. Then they’ll line their shoes
by the door, warm up the leftovers—
do it all over again.
© Suzanne Comer Bell.
Used with the author’s permission.
|Purchase a framed print of this poem.
Suzanne Comer Bell is a writer and teacher of young children. In her twenties, she worked in book publishing, then became a freelance editor. Over the years, as she nurtured the words of others, Suzanne's own voice evolved. She began writing feature articles for regional magazines, and poetry, mostly for family and friends, and mostly for the sake of the feeling and beauty of the words. For the past five years, Suzanne helped care for her mother, who passed away in February from ovarian cancer. Her poetry and journaling became a lifeline during the months and years of her mother's illness, and continues now to sustain her as she reflects upon the joy and sadness of that time. Suzanne lives with her husband and two daughters in Brevard, North Carolina.
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Thank you, Jo. I share your sorrow for the loss of your father. It is so hard, and yet our openness with one another, in family, beyond family, brings new life, new love. Thank you, again, and blessings to you.
Posted 11/27/2014 09:51 PM
Thank you. I'm so sorry about your mother.
A blessing this Thanksgiving that you had those five years, but bitter-sweet I know. My dad died a year ago at this time.
Posted 11/26/2014 04:48 PM