Pilgrimage

Twelve hundred miles, the penance
of a confessed Grinch—
I say we will go home for Christmas
and by home I mean the place
I haven’t lived for twenty years
the family I happily abandoned
the scenes I packed up and moved
out of my heart. We will daze ourselves
driving, hug and kiss, dry-eyed
laugh a little, bring our own wine
and drink it in secret, trying
to remember how to feel. We will fall
into the old southern cadence for a time
but the glowing vision of color, carols
Momaw’s living room, gift-wrap strewn
is grayed-out, gone. I grow old
complaining of traffic and change
querulous for my own bed.

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11 thoughts on “Pilgrimage

  1. So many heart-rending but stunningly constructed phrases and images here – dry eyed crying, packing up parts of your heart…So much of it brought sharply into focus. Very immediate and raw and powerful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can empathise with the emotions, without ever having experienced a family get-together Christmas, you express them so vividly. When I was younger I used to miss the memory of childhood Christmases, never miss Christmas itself.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I just hate the whole thing. I never went back to my parents’ for Christmas after I moved to France when I finished at university. I worked on Christmas Eve so the possibility never arose. I don’t miss it though. Christmas is for little kids and family if you have them to hand. If you turn it into a big deal, reminiscences and trying to recreate a lost childhood it must be pretty dismal.

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  3. I love this, Jennifer, mostly I think because it gives words to a lot of ambivalence I have for the holidays. And it is hard to write about negative things without sounding childish (for me, which is my problem). You’ve done this really well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your vote of confidence. It is hard to write about negative things. That need to give ourselves permission to not always present only the shiny happy face. :/

      Liked by 1 person

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