and it leads to me to a list of upcoming firsts
The first Christmas, the first New Year and more
a feeling of loneliness a feeling of helplessness
welling behind my eyes and in my heart
the counted days accumulating until the hurt dissipates.
This morning I awoke with her voice in my dream
I lay there for a moment in that half-life
of sleep and waking of dream and reality
waiting for one or the other to dominate my being
while trying to reclaim the moment and place
to pull myself into the exact time of its occurrence.
And there I was, a child again on Thanksgiving day
lolling in the heavy afternoon of 1960
with my sister goading me to eat just one more bite
from the turkey shambles on the dining room table
whispering from behind the door, behind the chair
"The turkey's calling you, the turkey's calling you."
My sister spoke her own language that she created
to torment me, to tease me, to endear me
and I can barely recall the vocabulary now
the passing years have weakened my memories
and wasted my past into a heap of bone and ash
which my tears serve to wash away even further.
Her stories entertained the lonely days and nights
of our exile to a new town a new state
where friendless and shy I restarted with hesitation
the interactions with which I was never comfortable
her weaving drew me back from the void,
a gully into which my soul had fallen.
Who was that child, stuffed with Thanksgiving
where is that child, sedated and calm
driven into action with a whispered phrase;
why did I eat over and over just to maintain the joke
I must have been nearly sick to death
but I labored on to please her.
How unlike the later years when I abandon my sister
not out of malice or anger but out of selfishness and pride
and I grew the separation upon miles and miles
and I grew the new, humorless me
who would never again stuff his face just to please
but who would ignore all past and present kindness.
A soul fallen ever deeper and ever further away
so deep not even a smiling and meaningless phrase
could pull me back could save the divided heart
from dividing ever wider and wider
creating a distance even excuses could not span
and leaving her alone yet ever hopeful.
I arise an aging man facing both in and out
with a wisp of words tugging at my hearing
just beyond the moment of dreams
and just before the moment of waking
where even Thanksgiving has lost all meaning
and where death always defeats life.