P—W  V° 02:03

Dining Room

by Larry Easley

Are you sure you know what you’re doing?

No one could cook like her.
No one could host and hold court like her.
Her precision and perfectionism runs through my veins, too.

Oh, what I would give for one last scolding!

My hands, unsteady but methodical, arrange the table.
Each place setting becomes akin to an altar,
decked out and adorned with the artifacts of a warm
and well-remembered past.

Check the turkey, boy, and go turn the heat down on those greens.

Familiar aromas from the afternoon’s impending feast fills the house.
Hot. Savory. Comforting. Ancestral.
I hope I make her proud today.

Car doors slam and the doorbell
heralds the arrival of company.
We hug and kiss and soak up each other’s presence
as the parade ends up in the makeshift chapel.

The gradual boom of laughter and tall tales,
peppered with the sharp clatter of metal on ceramic,
is almost ecclesiastic. Transcendent!

We commune in a way we haven’t in far too long.
It almost feels like old times, save for the specter of our missing.

Don’t forget those extra pies in the fridge.

Sweets are savored and the pours are liberal and frequent.
The council of cousins begin our ceremony of rites:
A deck of cards. The football game.
The most responsible of us
begins to package plates to-go.

Day soon melts into night and the crowd begins to thin.
We hug and kiss once more, holding onto these moments, feverish in extracting every drop of their sweet, soothing power.

The last car pulls off the hill
and leaves the house quiet.

2022 © L.Easley