Breathing is dogged as I paddle my canoe,
With each stroke,
Pulling my cornucopia of emotions
Through the thick water.
First, frustration from pelted Protectors;
A reminder of the false foundation of this day.
Yet pride as they Stand in the water,
Brothers and Sisters at the Rock
Second, sadness, shivers and splinters as I row,
Memories of my Aunt hosting my first 45 of the day.
And gratitude in being welcomed to another table
As a prodigal cousin and niece,
Surrounded by love.
The third wave of soft sorrow creeps in
Like the river snake I hardly knew was there.
Dad passed 18 years ago this month.
Yet I kiss my Grandma on the forehead and revel
As she recognizes me today.
Forth, an in-breath of heartbreak
From images of pre-plucked dinners.
As I still befriend the birds we pass.
And then, an out-breath under the bridge
I focus on free-range.
Fifth, the election isolation, separation,
A wide variance of values within the same family,
Viewing the world so differently.
Just then I make it to shore
And break bread with those I love.