(From my new book, The Magic of Love, soon to be released)

My first set of friends were all cousins. We played together, roaming the town and country side free of adult interference as our moms were glad to get us out of the house so they could have some peace of mind. We invented games and played for hours free to be just kids. We also got into trouble together. As the years passed, we found other friends and our lives grew apart. But all my early memories, those precious childhood memories, all reflect their faces off the walls inside my mind.

Cousins

Love, perhaps? Probably not.
First kiss, my cousin Lorraine,
egged on my her older brother
and my older brother.

Cousins, we had so many.
One day we counted.
When we got to the fourth cousin level,
we passed a thousand.
Most of us lived near the same prairie town,
a French family come to the prairies for free land,
a hundred and sixty acres for a dollar.
They all had babies that had babies that had babies.

They are all gone from time but still living in memory.
I am the last of the generation of generations
being the baby of a family from a baby of a family.
I witnessed the passing of all the aunties and uncles
and then all the first cousins.
Sometimes I feel lost and alone.

Now here I am having lost count of my own extended family
that passed one hundred on mom’s eighty-second birthday.
Already thirty years ago, and yet the memories linger
bringing warmth to my heart
on a cold December day,
and meaning and purpose to my soul.