This Empty Table - Beatriz Dujovne

Our ten-foot dining table, once the hearth of
four generations sitting elbow-to-elbow
sharing favorite family dishes, eagerly talking
over each other like the rowdy doves of my Buenos Aires.

Adorable grandchildren scattering spinach across the floor
crying their way out of a highchair’s captivity.
These little girls hungry to dress up in grandma’s
clothes, pose for yet another silly photograph.

Today, a bouquet of orange gerbera daisies and silence
are my sole company. I hardly hear my own breathing,
my bare feet pacing. I confess that laughing out loud
now gives me the briefest illusion of family.

To calm my anxious heart, I tell myself that children
grow up, flee our embrace. That family ties unknot.
All heartbreak comes and goes. Maybe next Sunday
I’ll remember to forget, to set only one plate at this empty table.

Beatriz Dujovne is a licensed psychologist with a private psychotherapy practice. She is the author of In Strangers’ Arms: The Magic of the Tango (McFarland, 2011) and Don’t Be Sad After I’m Gone (McFarland, forthcoming) and has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed psychoanalytic journals. Her poems have appeared in January Reviewand Amethyst Review.