The Great Aunt
All these worn out faces
at my nephew's birthday party.
I can't stop looking at you.
In the mix are toys, magic,
small shoes and big, wrinkles,
sheen on flesh, wrappers
and you: someone familiar
and too fragile to put a finger on.
I feel sorry that you are old
in a room trembling from the blast
of seven-year-olds frisking about.
'Til memory waves a wand:
You took my cousins and me
to our first concert.
We were eleven,
you were invincible.
While it wasn't the last night
I saw you, it was the last time
you were real in my eyes.
Like plump balloons, who knows
if we are floating or losing
air once out of reach. The trick,
how clever, is your hollowness
isn't yours but mine.
31 May 2023
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