Relevant maybe, but I’m related to a man named Sebastian,
an ancestor of mine who once owned land,
grew crops and hid a cowboy who had killed another man
for drinking his cup of whiskey.
Not that I don’t think he matters today or the men
he helped along the way, but compared to you
he doesn’t hold a lit candle, not even a half-burnt candle
the ugliest color in the back drawer.
This night belongs to your contributions, the fortunes
you bestowed upon my family, and you could call them long lost treasures
we could only dream about when asleep if you want.
Know we are grateful for the cats that followed you into our kitchen,
natural deterrents for mice and their diseases, the companionship
they provide to my children on their thin mattresses was a blessing.
Little Sally can’t play the piano well, but she’s better than Dorothy
at three years of age, and Mikey is too busy pretending he’s an adult
although together they create quite a musical treat if you let
him drink a little bit from your cup.
Don’t let my Serafina see it, my beloved wife, who made beef stew.
It’s the recipe passed down for generations on her mother’s side and the equally
delicious bread made from scratch to soak up the broth left behind.
Make sure to leave room for apple pie, that is what I tell my
children, but my oldest boy rarely listens to his old man’s wisdom now,
thinking I will lead him astray as mine did with me.
Here is your cup for the night, use it to when it gets colder.
I hear the coldest night this year might happen
and move your feet around, by the stove.
It’s the best place even when the fire has glowing embers.
It’s a shame I haven’t any book to read from,
recite a few lines or more, but we’re a big family with limited means,
and I can’t afford more than what I have.
Honesty is what I can offer and nothing more besides another thank you.
We don’t have raspberries in a bowl, or anything fancy like that,
only bruised apples no one else wanted,
now gone from our bellies and pooped out to be used as fertilizer.
Sebastian knew his limits as a man,
he knew where to go when he wasn’t wanted and stay when
he was liked although no one admired his physical downfall of his misshapen head,
but he spit his tobacco further than anyone before him
and that impressed enough people or so the story goes.
I’ll leave it up to you say something now, but make sure
not to upset my dear Serafina. I will have no choice to open the door
and kick you out, and what a shame that would be.
I would like you to stay a while and become part of my family.