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Family Reunion

Jeredith Merrin
The divorced mother and her divorcing 
daughter. The about-to-be ex-son-in-law 
and the ex-husband's adopted son. 
The divorcing daughter's child, who is

the step-nephew of the ex-husband's 
adopted son. Everyone cordial:
the ex-husband's second wife 
friendly to the first wife, warm

to the divorcing daughter's child's 
great-grandmother, who was herself 
long ago divorced. Everyone 
grown used to the idea of divorce.

Almost everyone has separated 
from the landscape of a childhood. 
Collections of people in cities 
are divorced from clean air and stars.

Toddlers in day care are parted 
from working parents, schoolchildren 
from the assumption of unbloodied 
daylong safety. Old people die apart

from all they've gathered over time, 
and in strange beds. Adults
grow estranged from a God 
evidently divorced from History;

most are cut off from their own 
histories, each of which waits 
like a child left at day care. 
What if you turned back for a moment

and put your arms around yours? 
Yes, you might be late for work; 
no, your history doesn't smell sweet 
like a toddler's head. But look

at those small round wrists, 
that short-legged, comical walk. 
Caress your history--who else will? 
Promise to come back later.

Pay attention when it asks you
simple questions: Where are we going?
Is it scary? What happened? Can
I have more now? Who is that?

From Bat Ode by Jeredith Merrin. Copyright © 2000 by Jeredith Merrin. Reprinted with permission by The University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

From Bat Ode by Jeredith Merrin. Copyright © 2000 by Jeredith Merrin. Reprinted with permission by The University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

Jeredith Merrin

Jeredith Merrin