You are estranged.
We haven't talked in years,
and although I've invited you
you haven't invited me.
I've tried, and tried, and tried again.
Graduation, competitions, concerts, and plays.
You weren't waiting in the wings
or sitting in the stands, the audience.
No, you were at home.
Your lakeside house with big windows,
with your real granddaughters, cousins, nieces.
Your real family.
While I was wondering what I did to deserve this.
But I kept trying.
I kept calling, inviting.
You left me in the dust,
constantly leaving me with your voicemail,
Hi, we can't come to the phone right now,
but if you leave a message we'll get back
to you as soon as we can. Thanks! Bye.
I try to unfollow, unfriend.
But that would only put me further away
from cousins I don't know.
People I've never met.
I give up.
I'm done trying.
If you still care,
the inviting's up to you.
For years, people in my family have wanted nothing to do with me. It's not as bad as it used to be, but every time I'm getting ready to see them for a few hours I panic and wonder if it'll be the last time I see them, if they'll decide to cut me off again.
This poem has been submitted to Telluride Institute's Fischer Prize contest.