Loved ones gathered around a table
loaded with enough food to feed half the neighborhood.
Voices and laughter, quips and stories,
college kids and children,
kinfolk who drove in from a few hundred miles away
and have to leave again the next day.
Coats hanging in the entryway,
Tupperware, Corningware and Rubbermaid on the counter,
at least one covered dish shrouding some mystery—
even after it’s been opened—
and at least one kid too young to know not to ask,
(or one too old to care)
“What is that?”
And at least one uncle who will be, a little later,
watching TV with his eyes closed and his mouth open.
Somewhere in between or amongst
all the dishes and the “just one more’s,”
the games at the table, on the floor, or on the flat screen tv,
there will be at least one moment—however brief—
when we will sense some bit of quietness,
a pause in all activity,
or perhaps rather even in the most disjointed flurry,
we will look around and note the faces and the poses,
the voices and the gestures,
the particular tilt of the head,
the expression on the face,
and we will try to fix that in our minds
so that a day or a week later,
in the aching quietness of this same house,
we can remember what is that we miss so much,
what it is that that used to fill our moments.
And we will hold to such memory,
this small, sacred tithe
of such holy days.