by Jean Cassidy

We are present,
a gathering of friends
superb in the lavish simplicity
of raucous laughter and chatter,

embedded in our middle age,
Grandma’s lace tablecloth and sterling,
the roundtable placing us,
we see each other completely.

The appetizer—salmon, mango, jasmine rice
and homemade cherry pie.
The feast—ourselves, rich and scrumptious.

Aren’t we ourselves the feast?
rich as homemade cherry pie, scrumptious
as salmon, mango, and jasmine rice?
Or are we only the appetizer, needing

in one another, embedded
in our sterling middle age, raucous,
remembering ourselves,
Grandma’s lace tablecloth, the table

not lavish but superb,
gathered in simple friendship
we are present.

Jean Cassidy was born in Chicago. At seventeen, she entered the Adrian Dominican Congregation where she received undergraduate and graduate degrees before finishing at the University of Michigan as a clinical social worker and community organizer. In 2005, she became the managing editor for the Internet magazine

About Roundtable—“Roundtable” is written in the form of a mirror poem, a poem that becomes an internal reflection of itself. I chose to put the theme of close friendship in this form because the idea of mirroring reminds me of what friendships have been for me throughout my life–the reflection of trusted and loving people who, through example, have helped me find my way.