Jason Brightwell

Jason Brightwell lives in Baltimore, Md., where he finds himself regularly haunted by one thing or another. His work has appeared or is upcoming in journals including The Blind Man’s Rainbow, Phantom Kangaroo and The Battered Suitcase. You can find him blathering on and on at http://www.blatheranddrone.blogspot.com.

And Because She Won’t Make It Through the Night

And because she won’t make it through the night
family from their places converge on a yellowing house
from far away and from close.
It should smell like thanksgiving but it doesn’t.
Instead it smells stale and old.

It feels still. He’s come to collect his little child;
vacant and empty and quiet,
and more or less ready to go.
Still. Like that second between lightning and thunder.
None of us really moving, just waiting.
And he watches her frailty from the wall by her head.

And because she won’t make it through the night
we are all here. Tired and antsy and waiting, we need something to do.
Out come the bowls for boiling potatoes
and the pots and pans for gravy and stuffing and
ham and turkey and corn and butter and salt.

The heat and the sound and the smell of things
cooking and stewing, sauteing and roasting
stirs her. Stirs her heart. These smells bring her back.
From his tiny trinket-post on the wall, he decides to pass
and with a quick wink, floats away. Back to where he came.

And because she wasn’t going to make it through the night
we had an impromptu family reunion for this holiday.
With so much conversation and so much love and so much
food that she will have enough to eat for another year.

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