Margaret This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 15, 2010
By , Califon, NJ
Margaret asks if I want the meat.

I don’t say
That she’s already offered once or
That I’m disgusted by pork or
That I’m a vegetarian and
I have been for years and
My dad told her that earlier.

I say no and
I sigh and
I smile
Like my mom told me to.

Margaret asks what grade I’m in so
I tell her eighth and
She’s coming to my graduation tomorrow so
She asks if I’m looking forward to high school.

I don’t say
That she’s already asked twenty-six times and
I know because I’ve counted and
I have a tally on my wall and
I’ve given the same answer every time.

I give the same answer again and
I make my total twenty-seven and
I smile
Like my mom told me to.

Margaret asks what I want to do when I grow up.

I don’t say
That she’s asked seven times already or
That I consider myself grown up or
That I really don’t know and
I told her that the first three times.

I make something up and
I lie through my teeth and
I smile
Like my mom told me to.

Margaret asks how my family is doing.

I don’t say
That she knows as well as I do or
That she is part of my family or
That I really don’t know because
I never get to talk to them.

I tell her they’re good and
I act like that’s true and
I smile
Like my mom told me to.

Margaret falls silent so
I take advantage of the time and
I turn my head so
She can’t see my tears and
Margaret asks if I want the meat.





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