Another gathering has come and gone
the painted smiles removed and packed away.
My pillow sings a tranquil siren song
convincing me to set aside the day
to strip the conversations from my skin
and pile them in the closet with my clothes
expel the breath that I’ve been holding in
relax the lips that I’ve been pressing closed
unclench the jaw that I’ve been clutching tight
and slide between my blanket and my sheets
surrender to the silence of the night
and close my eyes while I start counting sheep
be grateful I survived the whole affair
give thanks that this comes only once a year.