As I face her contumely with stoic restraint,
I may seem cavalier, but really I ain’t.
I’ve grown used to her holiday gloom and depressions
when she is exposed to these family sessions.
After so many years, I’m attuned to the drill,
though I must admit that I’ve had my fill
of her bigoted grandpa, her silly vain mom,
her brother whose jokes are always a bomb.
Her sister who views our clothes with derision,
the grandmother who cannot reach a decision
on what kind of pie—pumpkin, chocolate or peach?
So she always ends up with a little of each.
Her nieces and nephews all stupid and spoiled,
and the Christmas goose that always tastes boiled.
Why do we attend each new family blast
when we always go home feeling slightly aghast?
I must say their whole group has failed at the game,
for a family should be far more than a name.
We swear every holiday will be our last,
but I fear nonetheless that our lot has been cast.
We’ll continue to dread every Christmas and Easter—
every occasion to become a feaster
on gummy plum pudding and cold slimy fowl,
for though we curse and grumble and growl,
for birthdays and weddings, we’ll load up the car
and drive those long miles to come from afar
repeating this ritual year after year,
for this is the family that we hold dear!
Prompt words are holiday, cavalier, stoic, contumely and passage. Fiction, folks, fiction. Written from the point of view of a long-suffering male spouse. My husband did not feel this way about my family, really.