Missing Thanksgiving

[A new day, a new prompt from Two Sylvias Press, and what poured out is not entirely comfortable but probably, in the way of poetry, more true than I would like to admit.]

“I think I’m getting sick”
I told my husband
the evening before I drove to New Jersey
without him
for a Thanksgiving family gathering.

(The hardest problem
Perhaps
with a later in life marriage
when original spouses are dead
The hardest problem
as I was saying
is grown children grown possessive
after your years alone
The hardest problem
is the hard pull
over-balancing togetherness
to different children for holidays)

So it was that I sniveled
“I think I’m getting sick”
“Likely the bubonic plague, or worse”
As my bones froze
my heart stopped
my gut wrenched
Another family gathering
on my own.

“I lose myself”
I whimpered
My already melting confidence dissolving
“I can’t find my mind”

“It’s not fair”
I whined
My always shaky adultness devolving
“Your family is easy”
“Mine is terrifying”

Brené Brown tells me
(During one of our cozy chats)
of the difference
between belonging and fitting in

A fascinating but moot point:
I neither belong nor fit in

Still, I went
The odometer on the car
proves that I went

But
terror-stricken
certain of failure
fearful of disappointing
Again
my mind stayed home
or waited, shivering, by the highway

I wasn’t really there.

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