The hours following the Christmas morning gift exchange are often spent in a collective stupor, family members cast across the living room in a sea of glittering holiday flotsam. All are weak and wasted but the odd nine year old, who breaks from the wreck of wrapping paper like a flying fish to demonstrate the usability of a plastic trophy before flinging herself back in (“Who put the nickel in you?” my grandmother has been known to ask such a child).
This year, after emptying stockings, exchanging gifts, and eating cake for breakfast (coffee cake, that is), I summoned those family members who were up for it into the kitchen of my aunt and uncle’s house in Jacksonville, Florida. Here, still in our PJs, we made some erasure poems.
Participants ranged from 9 to 81 years old. We had one pediatrician, a refugee case worker, a camp councilor, a reporter, a yoga teacher, a brewery representative, two retired schoolteachers, and two current elementary school representatives, one with a penchant for funny hats.
After making our poems, we went around the table and took turns reading them to the group. Many of us were proud of the gasps and chuckles and sighs of recognition our poetry elicited.
Then it was 11:30 am on December 25. Christmas was over. Some of us went out on a sailboat, and some of us took naps.