Kitchen Table by Paul Morris
By Elaine
Apr 15, 2018 Children's
Kitchen Table a new poem by Paul Morris

Kitchen Table


 It was, I remember


In the kitchen


In uneasy domesticity: she


And me, eleven.


The day was June,


Or something like;


Acid-drop sun


Bleaching the yard-wall copings


Bright and brittle.


She sat


Pinnied and sud-handed


Drying her fingers one by one;


Folded the towel and laid it down


Like an offering.


And so we were –


Separated by a kitchen table.


 


‘You,’ she said, ‘will never be like them,


Never play their games or run with them,


Never be flares and platforms, mop-headed fashion-boy, knit-collar car-coat,


Never ‘one-of-us’.’


Her still-damp palm flatted her forehead,


Measuring her words’ temperature,


Holding in memory.


‘I know this,’ she said, ‘for it was so for me.


And we are one alike, you and I.’


Silence then,


                                                                                                 Spreading to fill the space between us.


The clock I saw had stopped.


‘No. You,’ she said,


‘You will never be ‘one-of-us’.’


Words that to me, eleven,


Sounded an acid-drop curse.


‘No no don’t say don’t say,’ I said: no - thought, not said.


‘No, you will never be never ‘one-of-us’.’


Words’ sound dropped – salt and acid -


On a June day,


Or something like.


 


And now, with her and me


Separated by a kitchen table and forty years


We’re silent


                        still.


 


 


 


Paul Morris

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