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.