Lauren Smith: Places Get Set

Places Get Set
Lauren Smith

At Christmas, 
my father always has
an extra seat at the table.
There’s always more chairs,
he says and his big hands clap,
and the places get set.

Invitations burst from him
from before the holidays;
before anyone is ready to even
think about the holidays;
700 years before anyone is able to
think about the holidays.

Anyone without a place,
anyone with the wisp of a hint of being
without a place or a family or a meal.
Sons from afar, and
daughters come in,
with infants on their hips.

The new day dawns, and we rise.
My radiant father,
heart thumping, swollen with joy.
The wealth of the seas and the riches of the nations,
nothing against a bright face
in the sun at his table.

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