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Suzanne Comer Bell



Inside a house they reassemble—
food an operation on the table,
dogs sealed against the back steps
waiting for the blessed day’s remains,
and a world of neighbors knows
to leave their gifts and wishes at the door—
then they eat and eat, clear, clean the table,
move to the kitchen and rumble family tales
til the ancestors sound, drown the silver clatter—
no bounds here to joyful noise because it’s family—
then disappear, each wandering off
to a silent, private nest, where
inside the cocoon of sleep will grow
the shapes and skills of being in this family.
One by one they’ll wake to a new world,
take ball, gun, racquet, cards—some
instrument of fun to play with another—
and the skills of this family bloom, reborn
in their memory, in the movement of hands, voices, feet,
the presence of children coming of age or an aunt
who carries the same genes of natural talent,
some newly awakening, some reawakening,
recognizing themselves in the mirror
of each other’s faces. Then they’ll line their shoes
by the door, warm up the leftovers—
do it all over again.

© Suzanne Comer Bell.
Used with the author’s permission.





Suzanne Comer Bell is a writer and former preschool teacher. In her twenties and thirties, she worked in book publishing, became a freelance editor, and began writing feature articles for regional magazines. As her children got older, she sought out the presence of other little ones by teaching preschool (which lasted ten years!). Over time, writing poetry became for Suzanne a spiritual practice, to enjoy the beauty of language and foster a connection with the natural world. Currently she tutors elementary-age children at her local Boys and Girls Club, enjoys hiking and mountain exploring with her family, and writes poetry most every day. Suzanne and her husband,Tom, live in Brevard, North Carolina; together they have two grown daughters who also live in the area.

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