As in waiting for the light to change
Or, waiting breathlessly in a corps of dancers for the curtain to rise
Or climbing the walls while a once again drunk relative makes yet another mindlessly insipid toast
Remembering those who could not join us for these holidays
Those who have crossed over before us. Without us.
We collectively hold our breath while Uncle Seaward becomes angry
He begins a diatribe coupled with punching the air in combat
Rising and falling, his voice quickening and cracking
His glass eye remains fixed
While his good eye cries hot tears of loss.
And Brother, home from Vietnam, his wild eyes darting, seeks an escape
Aunt Gail weeps silently
While Papa holds a steady gaze looking from person to person
Hoping to hold on
Just hold on.
We call on patience to see us through
To make another memory of family
Gathering and accepting each others’ struggles
Please. Pass the bread pudding.