Dead Letters

Every December I carefully address cards to my extended geography, 

scribe canned sentiments trying to recall faces,

discern whether familial patronymics are appropriate and realize

I can't remember names, new children,

wonder if I'll ever meet them or if I care to,

if this ritual still invokes the belonging I require

knowing persons missed most are already gone,

if I'll ever understand a winter draped in fresh solitude,

if I will be remembered for nothing

more than a clever, areligious greeting,

a careless postcard in a distant box that whispers

happy holidays, I'm sorry for your loss.

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