casual questions like this

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when at home
there are more
silences
than
arguments
you know
the conversation is coming

and now
as i sit on the couch
and the
cold tense silence
shrieks in my ears

they tell me

*
*

the good news is
when my dad moved to his own apartment
he got me a cat
i named him
Purring
don’t laugh
it’s what you name your cat
when you’re four

my grandma
keeps wanting to know
“who would you rather live with—
your mom or your dad?”

her tone is casual
as she tosses
the next pile
of smelly clothes
into the washing machine

her off-hand tone
makes the question worse
i know
she doesn’t care
about the answer—
it is
one more dirty piece of laundry
she is tossing into the wash

i know
whatever i say
my answer
will come back to haunt me

and so
as soon as she looks away to
pour the bleach
i press my back against the wall
like a stealthy soldier in a movie
and slide away
a silent shadow

in my room,
i try
to look busy with my dolls

too busy
to answer
casual questions
like this.





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