family 101

We sip our tea, gather at the table for dinner
We learn that silences can be familiar, familial
But we watch when silences speak louder than words,
When they scream things we were forbidden to hear.
In a house with three children things were always loud,
Squabbles and snorts and squeals of laughter echoed all day
But louder still were plates and words hurled in rage.
There were holidays and fancy dinners and plane rides
There were warm hugs and melted chocolate and inside jokes
But then there were separate rooms and separate world views.

What’s a family without a little fire?
A little pug was scared when crackers flamed on Diwali
A father relived his childhood, setting smoke into the sky
A mother decked the house and herself in careful finery
A daughter found peace in the diyas that lined the walls
Less religion, more tradition: a son thought it was cumbersome
And the baby just laughed and cried, like babies do.

The pictures line a dusty shelf, a virtual wall
Together we live in and despite our glass walls
Tied together by fate and blood and love and years
We deflect questions and skirt conversations
But words ricochet like bullets in our halls
Answers are inconclusive, elusive, often absent—
But today my father took me to his childhood home.



Written in response to the daily prompt


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