The reflection of my mother’s family shines perfectly inverted
through the polished bagel and lox serving trays: a mob
of my personal history that greets me almost annually and without
a written text. We play pin-the-name-on-the-relative until the ice sculpture
melts. At Aunt Toby’s, my brother, going through his metaphysical stage,
limps around the living room explaining that his right leg is purely symbolic.
Grandma laughs like a grandmother and throws dollar bills into the space
where his knee should be. No one else wants an encore but he continues
to collate his limbs into metaphors. The rehearsal dinner is only a premise
so when we arrive at the wedding tomorrow, we’re prepared
to get our rocks drinks early and if not specifically, we at least know
the extended family relatively. I sit at the “cousins” table where we catch up
on each other’s lives: so what have you been doing since you were
born? Do you enjoy weather? We regress into the cousins of ten years ago
and find a common denominator to pass the time: eat our favors before dinner
and dance an incestuous Havah Nagilah around the receding Pergo floor.
After the bride throws her bouquet, the girls de-thorn their shawls.
All my aunts and uncles whose names begin with “M” leave
at the same time: their significance lies in their vowels, their vowels drop,
after they’ve left the room, like forgotten lyrics to a familiar song.