A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Cooking was something I learned to do well. This was
a chicken roasted golden; I carved the leg and thigh
huddled like a plump comma. The fork slipped.
The piece I had carved fell on the floor
while he held the plate; he liked things to go
smoothly. Frightened, I picked it up; I’ll take that one,
I said and hurried to carve more. No, you won’t,
he said. I never knew the answer to these things:
whether my obvious fear infuriated him or something else.
Suddenly he slammed the whole plate of food
down on the floor: chicken, rice, peas, bits of plate.
I don’t remember the sound. How about this, he said.
The dishes were a set, Blue Willow, a gift from my aunt;
I loved them. Now there is one less, I thought.
I don’t remember what happened then:
Not the children’s eyes, not the frozen silence of dinner,
Only that bits of plate kept appearing
When I swept, when I dusted, bits of plate
for weeks afterwards.
Copyright 2018 Elizabeth Romero