At the Dinner Table

October 29, 2008
your name was dropped at the dinner table tonight
startling everyone
it accidentally slipped through my little sisters lips
four syllables
that each clattered to the floor
smashing into pieces
and hanging a heavy silence in the air
i winced when i heard it
briefly and only once
but the past yawned, stretched, and
began prowling the room
silently stalking those four syllables
i couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
six eyes shifted towards me uncomfortably
silverware poised in the air
and i felt their regret radiating off my skin
like midday sunshine
when sunlight falls with
angry brutal strength.
i stare at a spot on the carpet
willing myself to become
gray and unmoving as well.
swaying slightly in my chair, i realize
i’m lightheaded
and have been holding my breath since those four syllables fell
out of her mouth and onto the floor
i’m afraid to breathe for fear of inhaling
a piece of them, a piece of you because
i knew it would only ignite the pile of memories
i worked so hard
to sweep up and bury in the dark musty basement
of my heart.
i tug the corners of my mouth up for the sake of my family.
one moment passes,
then another, and another.
it is your name that is dropped
but i am the one who

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