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Teacups and Memories by Elaine Sorrentino

 

Teacups and Memories

My six-year-old face appears disfigured
to those who pass by our house,
squished against the glass door,

anticipating

my uncle’s long dark green car
screeching into our driveway, any moment

delivering my daring, dark-haired cousin,
the one who livens up Christmas dinner
with her rock-n-roll drumming dreams,

while her parents silently eye roll;
their tempestuous little girl,
testing boundaries – even at seven.

Considerably less audacious,
I continue my silent vigil
impatiently tapping on the glass

with my new Penny Brite doll,
decked out in her red and white dress,
red bow atop her head, prepared for introductions,

until my mother spies me, and in her gentle way
delivers the crushing news,
Sweetie, she’s not coming this year,

whispered with the same heavy sadness
that moved into our house when Grandma died.
I do not understand.

Angry words, harsh statements,
unmet expectations, accusations,
no contact – these last, the only words I grasp,

my six-year-old solution – so simple,
Just make up, my teary scream,
If it were only that easy, her weighty sigh.

First Grandma gone, now Jesse gone,
far more than I am equipped to absorb;
I sob until my throat is numb, my eyes dry.

Spending the first of many lonely family gatherings,
unable to imagine holidays, vacations
without the cousin who looks like me but is unlike me,

I am too trusting and unspoiled to envision
how teacups and memories
could tear a family apart.

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