The Gathering by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier
by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier

Family relations and food events,
with fabrics and colours, textiles or kindred mixtures of personalities overindulging with tactile, tangible clashes of characters,
kin set to become kindling with
any object of use or beauty and with any excuse,
Unbirthday. Very, very.

Heavily filtered through interests of the family,
on their finest behaviour,
to be prized in their own right by virtue of education and occasion,
today I’m a sojourner. Very, very.

Dressed simply and immaculately in something well-starched,
not outwardly coloured by the morning’s revels.
All my arrangements were in vain, treated with contempt,
no provisions from the small contingent of women,
though they did not talk about it.
The bond tied them together,
they attached themselves to their most-favoured adults,
I just knew I was the inspiration.

People began to turn away in pity and discomfort,
well-wishers left the bar to try and pacify unlikely miseries,
with a happy-go-lucky delicious skill they graced with a smile.

If I had let things go,
though I had no sympathy or help,
resolution helped put the incident out of their minds,
while the united grounds, familiar scents and acquainted people, reasserted itself and faded into my background.
A few members were having tea on the lawn,
balancing the social pinnacle of the members’ enclosure.
They witnessed my slight idiotic grin.
Would they have been happier,
had I been immaculately conceived? Very, very.

Should I sit here every half year of my life?
The closure of the conversation was implied,
still heavily filtered through curiosities of the family.
With ten minutes of daylight left,
admirers could soon be avoided,
though I pay little attention,
as one who is appreciative of the situation in the context of its time,
and the fact that I have not many years remaining.
It seems so unimaginable and impossible to circumvent.
Very, very.

IMAGE: “The Gathering,” photograph by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  In keeping with the theme of Half New Year, this poem is about the gathering of family and friends to celebrate the “Unbirthday,” which is the date exactly a half year from your actual birthday. I thought it might be an interesting twist on the Half-Year concept. The poem does have a dark undertone and plays with Alice in Wonderland’s “very, very unbirthday” phrase.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier is a photographer, writer, and poet who has often been told she has an eye for seeing what others miss and finding what the camera loves. It’s the oddity within the beautiful, the spark within the mundane, and capturing the nightmare as well as the dream that she strives to find. Published internationally, regionally, as well as in heritage and military museums, Karen likes to try a bit of everything. Why not? She’s writes and shoots cover art for Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Zen Dixie Magazine, and has been featured in Artemis Journal, Sand Canyon Review, Scarborough Big Arts Book, Cactus Heart Press, Dactyl, Fine Flu Literary Journal, Shadows and Light and Vagabonds Anthology, to name but a few of the creative places she dwells. Follow Karen on Twitter.