We arrive at this gathering--
my dad’s family…
my family, but not.
Not like my mom’s, the Italians,
who I see every week…
who I play with, who I know…
No, this is the other side --
loud, boisterous, always joking.
Eating strange-smelling foods
like pierogies and kapusta.
and I, the quiet little niece
from out of town.
A summer cookout at Aunt Helens.
She, the oldest, the magnet that pulls us together--
four sisters, five brothers, countless cousins.
My Aunt Lucy opens her accordion,
the music erupts…
I hear the singing, the laughter.
I am 5 years old, standing on my dad’s feet
as he steps and spins me to the polka beat.
Fast-forward five decades…
I arrive at this gathering today…
to see this family, my family.
We hug, we reminisce,
we come to honor this lady--
our magnet, our glue.
And somewhere from the depths,
words I remember from childhood
“Dobranoc Ciotka Helen,
dopóki się znowu nie spotkamy."
“Goodnight Aunt Helen,
until we meet again”
© Ginny Brannan January 2013
(When my dad's family parted after a visit, we never said “goodbye," it was always, "dopóki się znowu" Actually, in my less-than-perfect Polish, I remember pronouncing it as"dobe vee gin ya")
Not exactly poetry, but am sharing anyways.
We said our farewells to my dear Aunt Helen this week, the oldest in my dad's family, she passed at 95. I loved hearing how she became a Red Socks fan at 85 and would watch all the games! She was the glue in the family, the one that stayed in touch, the one that came to my graduation, my wedding, the one that always sent a card and letter at Christmas. So I do not say goodbye, but say instead "...until we meet again."