I try to say it’s my wife’s family
but they won’t have it
they have fully claimed me
as their own

at reunions they come in clusters
of three to thirty, kiss cheeks
and welcome us as though
we are Lazarus just newly risen

so many names and nuances
to be aware of, don’t mention
Fred to Aunt Gladys, don’t sit
with Lucy, she’ll ask you for money
and be sure to comment on how pretty
Horace’s new grand baby is
even though the unfortunate child
looks like a Klingon who didn’t make the cut

if you know what loneliness is
this family is its antonym
there’s never any time to feel lonely
when you are stirred in their pot
of familial gumbo

so I’ve come to accept
that they reject my introversion
as though it were a disease
they just don’t believe in

they are persistent and loud
constantly moving about
throwing horseshoes
dancing the Electric Glide
and I am their foreign prince
come to unite the kingdoms
of “how do you do” and
“give me a big ol’ sloppy kiss, boy”