AT THE DINNER TABLE
What happened at school, at work,
at the supermarket, library, playground,
on the train, on the bus, on the way home?
Salt shaker listens, pepper grinder yawns,
a bowl of carrots circle the conversation.
The roast, the turkey, the salmon wait
to be speared and forked to a plate,
serrated to bite-size pieces of what did
he say? is she pulling my maple leg,
my pine, my mahogany, my birch spindle
t restle cabriole fluted leg?
And the unused soup spoons laugh as though
the carnival has come to supper.
Dessert plates wait to be brownied with crumbs
of walnut and drops of double churned vanilla.
Talk turns to weekend plans, sports, recitals
and a family survey on what color to paint
the kitchen walls, what hue goes be st with
family time and pizza-on-paper-plates on
school play night and late night snacks and
mom-daughter chats about how cruel heartaches
and breakups can be. A sunny yellow to brighten
Monday morning doldrums, a soft peach
for warm and fuzzy kids-night-out, or
robin’s egg blue waiting up past curfew
whispering prayers for coming home late
but safe... no stark white betrayals or
shadowed grey deceptions. A spring green,
yes hope is eternal when families share time
at the dinner table, strewn before/after
with homework, the rainy Saturday jigsaw puzzle,
the pot of peeled potatoes waiting to be rinsed
and put up to boil, the collection of tax-time
receipts, the arts & crafts of a solar system
to assemble for class tomorrow, gifts to wrap,
cards to write, a thousand hours of worrying away
the finishes of life, the layers of love, hands held
saying grace at the altar of their dinner table.
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