Gifts Like Rain
Flawless was only the niece.
People’s attention went to the gestures
and wry expressions of Cousin Bernice,
Cousin Bernice whose four last names
each flaunted a husband, some Henry or Frank,
and whose frankfurter arms and beach-ball breasts
were always in motion while Flawless
perched stiff on the slat-backed chair
her knees pressed tight together.
When Great Uncle Alex came back from his travels
with suitcasefuls of mysterious packages
from Africa, China, New Guinea, brazil,
which he scattered about with a brazen air,
Flawless arose form her slat-backed chair,
morose and slow. She circled the room
to distribute the presents, her eyes acquiescent,
and her knees whispered “nylon” to each other.
Grandmother got roses, Sissy a frog,
Bernice a babushka, and Flawless received
a fuzzy golden Pekinese pup,
the point here being that siblings and such
may differ in experience, like Flawless and Bernice,
but the rewards, ah, the rewards,
future heirlooms springing from the same exotic source
and seeming to fall by chance like rain
indeed do not. This is a truth that needs emphasis.