Family Dinner #14

May 16, 2010

Family Dinner #14

In September, Lucy & Carla descend

from Cambridge with Grandmama

& Charlie, a man who asks

all of us to call him Chaz,

snapping a tongue against his teeth

and sucking Grandmama's fingers

into the monster strangeness of his hands

Grandmama laughs, loud humming gums

and eyelids that drive Lucy & Carla

outside. I follow, gliding into the stiff

Seever Acres dusk to catch fireflies

and listen as my mother's sisters

tidy deck furniture, whisper about potato salad,

Charlie's rum-breathed ex-wives.

Someday I will forget this all:

Always saying Charlie, not Chaz,

even as he buttered my bread.

The gummy white of hamhock fat, tensing

against teeth & my mother's

sisters' smiles.

— Hailey Reissman

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