Sift your history through a silver sand sieve.
Watch the cascade of holiday parties and funerals fall.
You’ll see there are five million ways it happens,
how family turns into relatives.
The last straw – the daughter miffed for the last time,
at years of disrespect and disappointment,
at getting the short end of the stick.
The end was anti-climactic.
She disappeared after her child’s forgotten birthday gift.
Then there are the spectacular fights
that result in swift ruptures,
precipitated by unfortunate observations
about children or worse.
Tiny shared worlds can explode in a moment
when one sibling pushes another over the cliff.
Huge new houses, strange new spouses,
Bankruptcy, sobriety, disease.
Small rifts grow stronger and wider
when something essential shifts.
The saddest drifts are created by neglect and exhaustion.
Without nourishment, even strong bonds starve.
We become strangers when we don’t phone or visit
because our own lives take all we have to give.
About the Poet: Sheila Wellehan’s poetry is recently featured or forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, the Aurorean, Menacing Hedge, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Visit her online at www.sheilawellehan.com .
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