In December the ice had left
an eggshell coating on New York’s
streets, but still we insisted--mother,
brother, all of us--to celebrate your 85th birthday.
The grandchildren giggled at the man
smashing avocados and onions into guacamole
and we all grew tipsy drinking margaritas
rimmed with lemon and salt.
My nephew made a speech about
how you are the root of the family’s tree.
One branch of the tree led to me, and the other
to my brother. We all marveled at his eloquence
and laughed and pretended that you were actually there,
that your center hadn’t died and iced over,
that your mind still brimmed with a father’s memories.
That you did not stare at us
and struggle to remember.
Vikram Masson is a lawyer by training who lives in Richmond, Virginia. His poetry is featured in Amethyst Review, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Young Ravens Literary Review, and The American Journal of Poetry.