Poetry / September 2014 (Issue 25)


by Neobie Gonzalez

At lunch, your mother teaches you to turn
your plate around as he leaves for work. This is
circling, how you’ll tell he’ll come back home

safe at night. When dinner is served, you wait
for the magic that you were promised. Step
three in a process you’ll come to know

as fraud. By midnight, you listen for his car's hum
in the garage, for his hand opening the fridge door
to light, for his footfalls on stairs as he comes up

for tales you sleep to. But you are already, gone
in dreams he used to make for you: princess, kind
giant, child on a carpet who comes through

a rainbow. Breakfast, you're eating jelly-
beans, his favorite snack. You told him once
that they came from Turkey, smalled

eggs for Easter festivities. You place those
holy sweets on a platter, an offering now
to guests you thank for coming. Pick up

the few they've left, hold color to your lips
and bite. Chew past shells and keep them
coming fast, like the uneaten grains of rice

your mother makes you finish. For her,
they're the years that one spends caught
in pure limbo, which, you came to realize,

is where you already are. Look, your mouth is too
full of this thick fruit. Let it save the sweetness
that won't come off from between your teeth.
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