Place Settings

Today, my hands shake

as I remove my son’s place-setting

at the family table. 

Yesterday, I sat across the table 

from him in his new home

as a beginning college student–

the first foray into adulthood. 

Earlier this summer, 

I removed the place-setting of

my beloved husband

after he died. 

The family table is now set

for just two: 

me and my younger son. 

Tonight, we will enjoy sharing

stories of our days. 

I preferred to add 

places to the table,

rather than to subtract. 

And perhaps in the future there

will be new places for

new friends, old friends,

daughters-in-law. 

Maybe a grandchild?

Maybe a new love?

But for now, 

sitting at the table alone,

my core quakes. 

My hands shake. 

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