My Mother Insists We Eat Dinner As A Family
Every day, she asks why I do not stay
at the table after the fruits -
the fruits that my mother bought from the market
with my father's money, and my brother's company.
I am responsible for the portioning.
I tear into today's oranges. Strip the rind,
peel the pith. Separate segments into bowls.
Is this not custom? No,
I do not need a knife. There
is always blood between us anyway.
My fingers know best where to dig. Sometimes,
my nails draw juice.
We are all here, she says.
How can I tell her that
I have stayed for nine months too long?
I toss the pith and the peel, push
each bowl towards them.
This is for you.
(This is all I can give to you.)
The smell of orange peel lingers
on my fingers after I go.
What is left after the trickling of each day?
Empty bowls that once held fruit, hands that once held
hands, sticky to first touch, holding us together
until we pull apart.
By Eden LowQLRS Vol. 21 No. 1 Jan 2022