I read my poetry at the holiday table

but this year was told explicitly, Don’t.  

This year, Dad brought his own poem

by his favorite author, Mary Oliver.  


So my father convenes my court

and opens Blue Horses.  He reads

about yoga, being unable

to touch toes as Mary turns

into a lotus.  


My sister breathes

for the first time in ten years,  

This is the best Christmas ever!  


It seems not everyone

enjoys tears at the table

or the blood of dead mothers

in their cranberry sauce.  


I decide to forgive myself:  

“Let the soft animal of my body

love what it loves”,

and curl up on the couch.



First publication: 4ink7, 2016