Fall This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


i was such a fidgetychild.
as soon as i finished my Thanksgiving meal
i would crawlunder the table
and secretly tap everyone's feet,
playingxylophone on tasseled loafers and high heels,
a fork in my left and aspoon in my right.
everyone would play along and say,
"who'sthat under the table?"
fully aware
that i hadstruggled,
with little-girl arms,
to push enough table away fromthe wall
so i could slide out
smooth as the cranberrysauce
that accidentally slid off Grandma Bea's plate
and onto myhair.

i shuffle out on my knees
mary-janes first
with thetablecloth stuck
to my petticoat
exposing Little Leggs tights andflowered underwear
but what did i care?
six-year-olds have nomodesty.
i tell everyone that i lost a tooth
and open my gooeymouth wide to show
i tell Uncle Howie that his new mustache makes himlook scary
and Grandma Evelyn that the magnet on herrefrigerator
is about to fall.

there was barely anyspace
to eat
in the kitchen.
it was all consumed withpeople,
turkey,
the smell of kasha vanishkas.
there wasn't anyroom for a kids' table
and if there was
we'd spill over into theliving room
and eat among Grandma's little tchochkaes,
herpaintings that scared me,
and the air conditioner that teetered outthe living room window.
i swore it would fall.

thisThanksgiving
the table is empty.
i stare at a dining roomwall
which exists only in memory.
the last time I saw GrandmaEvelyn's apartment
was when my father sat shiva,
when shedied.

but i can make out the outline of every family member
asif it still were 1989.
their images exist in a shade of eggshellpaint
darker than the rest of the wall
because a shadow remains
after a painting falls
from a wall that has been faded insunshine.

everything
has fallen from me.

diningroom.
living room.
family.
Grandma.

her apartmentbelongs to another family now.
i hope they are thankful for theasbestos cracks
on scorching unconcealed pipes,
the five and dimeacross the street
on the corner of Nostrand and Ave X
and thegarbage on the street corner that never made it to the can -
litteras common as leaves in fall.

i wish that i could jump in thoseleaves
or that pile of litter
i would give anything now just toplay in those

memories.
i would give anything to play underthe dining room table.

if only i could keep Thanksgiving fromfalling away.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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