The dining table, covered with
Mama’s fanciest tablecloth,
seats 15 related bodies today,
nervous they’ll not be comfortable,
yet all excited to be together.
They don’t notice the fine china
brought down from the highest cupboard,
the special silverware from the felted box,
nor the crystal water glasses that sparkle.
The platters and dishes pass quickly
as people fill their plates with mounds of
homemade mashed potatoes, dressing, and
thick slices of slow-roasted turkey.
But as the gravy boat is passed, the
clatter seems to stall as focus is shifted
to the slow stream of gravy as it
flows down over the spout
of the crackled and faded gravy boat;
And in that moment, all thoughts of
the immediacy of today’s lives–
cellphones, iPads, and streaming videos,
are replaced with flashbacks of
Grandma with her starched apron
covering her best Sunday dress,
leaning over the steaming pan, stirring
until the gravy mixture was perfect;
And I find myself,
like Grandma and her gravy,
unable to let this holiday pass
a minute before its time.