When my dead father sits at my dinner table I make him cover his eyes. I just want to enjoy my mother's deviled eggs. His suit is pressed, too big for his thinned body, gray like my heart. I will not ask him to pass me the mashed potatoes. The tile of the room is white and cold under my feet. I'm dying for something warm, biscuits and gravy maybe. Shit on a shingle, he wants to say. He wants to rest his arms, but I won't let him show me his eyes. The room is uncomfortably wide. Are table spoons really used for eating? He was the one who made that house. He wants to stand at the sink and wash his cheesy dish. His hands touched every baby tile. Let's hold hands again, I want to say, like braided bread. The light in the room heightens our awareness of his presence, but we can't just let him die. If we eat, if we just bite and chew normally, life will return to its upright position. We will keep him no matter how rigid, his absence of soul, his desire to float; we will not release our hands. We will eat the bread sopping with salty tears. We are trying to have dinner, but his eyes, those lakes full of great fish; they make our stomachs feel full, full of cocktail swords.
is an MFA graduate of California College of the Arts. Her work is forthcoming or appears in Cimarron Review, Witness, Sweet, Forklift, Ohio, Best New Poets, Fence, Cranky, Eleven Eleven
and others. She currently works as the Program Coordinator for the San Benito County Arts Council and she is also an active California Poet in the Schools.