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"Better than Expected Holiday"

from Volume 5: Wild Mercury

 

by Raven Wylde

A man I love is snoring softly in my bed right now
Mom,
living in one of those facilities even us atheists pray we won’t end up in,
says she is happy we came to share a meal today. 
New owners so this year only one guest meal per inmate allowed. 
Silent man across the table shaking his body rhythmically so hard the table bounces. We speak to him but no eye contact or words returned. How aware is he? Why did they sit him here with us? 
Staff member moves him back to allow the table to rest in peace
Wait for the meal. We talk amongst ourselves. 
Silent shaky man rises in increments, turns his walker/chair inch-by-inch around, shuffles for the door. I hurry to hold it open. 
I take a few bites of the sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Edible.
Boyfriend gets the turkey and most of mom’s meal too. 
Bon appetit.
She says, I am stuffed.
I lead him into a dance to the recorded music. 
Now you dance momma. 
Me? 
Yes. You can do it.
He helps her up and she moves her feet up and down in time to the slow tune. He leads her into a turn while I record this rare sight on my phone. Two minutes and she breaks away and heads back to her seat.
We call my difficult son and today he is not difficult.
I’m coming to visit grandma next month. I’ll book a hotel. Just checking if you’ll be taking her somewhere.
She doesn’t travel, dear.
First son and his wife ran the 10K turkey trot in Sac this morning.
He says, Then we took a long nap. We’re eating Ethiopian food now with her family. Love you!
Thin wrinkled white-haired woman parked in a wheelchair in the hallway
exclaims “Wow wow wow” her eyes sparkle in wide wonder
as I flounce by in bright feathered finery.
My sister answers the phone and seems happy we called although she had not answered my three-months-ago letter with 8 by 10 photos enclosed of our visit with her family in Idaho after not seeing her for eleven years. 
We adored having you visit us! Hugs to you both!
We ditch the evening meal and make love 
then
show up late anyway as the other guests button up coats,
hugs all around and wave goodbye. 
Eat the desserts leftover while the hosts smile in polite
tired 
resignation. 
Tasty pumpkin pie, one more chocolate truffle for the road. Is there a spoon for this cranberry sauce? Thanks! He opens the fridge. Any leftover turkey? Yum Yum Yum!
Home in my one room with a bathroom world
Cuddle up close on the pillowed daybed to watch a bizarre 2002 movie High Crimes with many, what the hell? just suspend disbelief twists and turns, trail of dead bodies
Until we are dumped out into late night after the 
against all odds
happy ending.

 

Raven has another poem, "Artman," in Volume 5, available for purchase in our bookstore.

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