Family Dinner

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic



My Boyhood eyes focused on power rangers

Basketball shot wagers

Races to light poles

each tree was a checkpoint

Touchdowns through imaginary goal posts

My brother and I would playingHORSE on the driveway hoop

A totem-pole where our childhood dreams would gather

Dribble, dribble

 turn around shot

I did not know if I wanted to make it or not



The street lights catch a fire

Low glowing flame like the logs in the fireplace.

Time to go in.

seconds ceaselessly tick

4, 3, 2, 1

til Dad walks in

I’m gonna get you lil shrimps

Hallway labyrinths

Carpet racetracks to Closet caves

“shhhh, don’t make a noise, or he’ll catch us both”


Time for dinner

make sure it’s set

one fork, one knife

he did not help, no.

I remember, yes.


You gather round a table for a ceremony

With hidden rites as sun takes to night.

I love theChicken cooked with cans of Campbell’s condensed mushroom soup

Mom even made Zucchini on the side,

When he was too sick to eat

I made sure

I licked my plate clean.


Silent taboos spread

maybe if it’s never mentioned it goes away.


They say you can’t predict storms

I can.

The pressure can never hold

Plates of earth pressed together

Erupt in violent form.


I can’t remember what she said

But dad’s tide turned again

I worked all day!

And you do this to me?

Dumb bitch


She shatters dishes into

Geometric collage fragments

Shehad cleaned it 

Over and over and over again

I watch her sweep up every broken bit

In the middle, I sit.


My brother lines up each stuffed animal

In a row,

Spectators seeing

The daily ceremony

Of his life

Saving dose.

His world is set to each fill of pink serum

medicine to correct

the attack

from within.

Cancer is the most intimate betrayal

A home split

Turning against the closest of kin.


Her silent smile shuts the bedroom door

Inside- muffled screams sleep.


I lay and pray,

“Please keep us all strong and healthy and help me be the best person I can be.”

When my brother is asleep

The secret silent prayer leaps out of me

God, let him survive.

Let him live

Let him live




Submitted: September 30, 2018

© Copyright 2021 Paul Stoddard. All rights reserved.

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