A Family Joke

Michael Laskey

Just her superstition – never
to watch a guest pass out of sight.
There we’d be all waving together
till the last moment when she’d turn

and dash indoors. Not that it dawned on us
for years – she was just our mother –
but rumbling her we were unanimous:
nonsense like that had to stop.

So we’d encourage her, slip our arms
around her shoulders and then hold her
more firmly the more she squirmed;
and she’d be laughing, but wouldn’t look.

And still won’t. We watch her duck
inside the porch as we drive away,
don’t scoff so much at the bad luck
she wouldn’t risk bringing down on us.