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Kitchen Table

With six of us, it had benches on either side,
chairs at the head and foot.
We aligned three on each bench,
parents in the two thrones.
For weekly pork chops and lasagna
I always had elbows in my ribs,
butter from Julie's bread
making its way onto my sleeve.

But when I could
I would sprawl on a bench,
cool in the summer A/C
on my bare, scrawny legs.
They would remind me of the therapist
who said I stuff things.
Christy, you are being a clam, just talk to us.
With tears and convulsing shoulders, I'd repeat,
I just don't know, I just don't know.
At the end I would wind up
ear to my dad's heartbeat.
He would pet my black hair and say Shhhh.

I was the producer of dramas,
the screenwriter and director.
To sit on the cool bench,
no shared DNA beside me,
no butter on my sleeve,
was the like having her uterus all to myself
with his hand on her belly as I kicked.

2006 by Christine Kiefer

Driving Thoughts

I saw a movie where someone said to their lover
I can't quit you
yeah you know the movie, all the hype
but the quitting you thing
sort of sucked a little molecule
in the left aorta
where I keep the dumb stuff
stuff that seeps into my brain when I'm driving
the shortcut through the park
and that one tree, a magnolia maybe

and the flow of quitting you thoughts
seems to make the damn magnolia
lonely especially
in February when it looks tired
and it wishes for May like I do
because I have to wear a ski cap
and I look manly in them because my hair is so short
but my ears
they'll fall off if I don't

and the flow from the aorta
to my brain at the red light
just past the tree
is that
I can't quit you molecule
and there's an image of me
standing next to the tree
saying to no one in particular
I can't quit you
and the tree
even in May
as I say
it looks like February

©2006 by Christine Kiefer

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