Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jane Adair: Wishbone

For my own good
mother cracks me
on the face, sends me

into the meaty arms
of my stepfather—
the one who usually

says Stop—
but today returns
me with a backhand.

I scramble beneath
the dining room table,
the one reserved for special

occasions. I study
his scuffed oxfords,
her tired feet

in frayed flats.
The three of us
hushed, panting.

If you could have seen me
you’d have thought, pathetic,
a girl crouched

like that only I was hard
and still as a blade.
In the kitchen the 12-speed blender,

broken between
beat and grate, listened.
We froze like that. A family portrait—

the one where our faces
ached from smiling
at the perfectly browned bird,

Cold Duck chilled
in the Frigidaire,
and the red and green Jell-O-mold

quivered. How to say
he threw me back.
He helped

flush me out.
He yanked an arm,
and she a leg.

They dragged me
across scratchy carpet,
my fingers

groping for a table leg,

the moment
a slow shutter snapping
like a wishbone

sucked clean and left to dry
on the window sill,
before brother and I,

desperate to win
the greater part of the break,
would close our eyes

and pull.

Copyright 2016 Jane Adair (formerly Jane Wampler).First published in The Cimarron Review. Republished by permission of the author.

5 comments on “Jane Adair: Wishbone

  1. jenneandrews
    January 26, 2016

    Brilliant and piercing poem, Jane. Thank you. xj


  2. Pingback: Jane Adair: Wishbone – adairjane1

  3. Jane Adair
    January 25, 2016

    Reblogged this on adairjane1.


  4. Pingback: Jane Adair: Wishbone — demosclub

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This entry was posted on January 25, 2016 by in Poetry and tagged , , .

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