They’re Just Family, After All

In anticipation of guests,
the hostess – always bent
on pleasing – carefully selects
the script, ascribes roles,
envisions an afternoon
of light repartee, peppered
with philosophical pondering –
satisfactory entertainment.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells herself, confident
in the outcome, fatally smug.

Crowd arriving, she fails
to read disinterest in eyes,
politely attempts to orchestrate
interactions, while they cast about,
calculating, shunning protocols
of etiquette, dispersing in
an unsettling way, then returning,
savagely encircling their prey.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells herself, panic rising,
confusion overriding confidence.

Unprepared to defend herself –
bears no arms but the giving type –
she ducks, grasps, attempts
retreat from the onslaught
of vindictive agendas, but the wall
of stored grievances, spotlighting
a history of injustices, corners
her, hopelessness in its wake.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells herself, knowing
full well the legacy of pain.

It’s friends, in the end,
who save her – a surefooted
cavalry, bearing the swords of
understanding, compassion
their war cry – reigning in the
once-invited, now betraying
guests – objective hearts
demanding an end to the fray.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells them, tells herself,
composure a mere thread.

Tables turned, the offenders
now plead for forgiveness,
beg for help, pretend the slights
were unintentional, harmless,
expect their hostess to step
over the bloodied and slain bits
of herself, and with benevolence,
restore her love for them again.

They’re just family, after all,
she says weakly, the torn script
of her expectations scattered.

(My art, entitled She Stands In the Middle of It All. This poem first appeared May, 2016)

Forgive Her Wickedness

I know my sister’s wicked,
have been witness to her acts,
but believe me when I say
the fault is not her own –

You see she had a tenuous start,
was fragile at her birth, and
well, the coddling that ensued
instilled her beastly ways –

tantrums, she found, effective,
threats quite useful too, in fact
I can’t ever remember a time
when ‘no’ meant no for her.

So now that she’s a real Queen
ruling with treachery and wrath,
well whose to blame but those
who set her on this path, and

this is not the full confession,
I’m ashamed to say, you see
the mirror to which she turns
for advice, well it’s another

one of our contrivances –
no magic actually involved –
holograph and distorted voice –
a sibling’s nasty parlour trick

So I hope you’ll understand
that when Snow White entered
our midst – all purity of heart
and youth’s radiant beauty

we saw the perfect opportunity
to make our sister writhe, plotted
to avenge the years condemned
to her shadow – the evil all ours.

(Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to demonstrate the human side of a classic villain.)

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Mother Bee

She sprinkles her commentary
with spikes of criticism
like a bee intent on finding honey
but stinging instead
strikes hard at the heart of the matter
manages to counter my aspirations
all attempts to swat away her words
are weak – she is my mother
and my sentiments are clouded
her jabs bite, inflame
and despite my apparent maturity
reduce me to childish panic.