Jane Adair: Wishbone

Jane Adair: Wishbone

Vox Populi

For my own good mother cracks me
on the face, sends me

into the meaty arms of my stepfather— the one who usually

says Stop—
but today returns me with a backhand.

I scramble beneath
the dining room table,
the one reserved for special

occasions. I study his scuffed oxfords, her tired feet

in frayed flats. The three of us hushed, panting.

If you could have seen me you’d have thought, pathetic, a girl crouched

like that only I was hard
and still as a blade.
In the kitchen the 12-speed blender,

broken between
beat and grate, listened.
We froze like that. A family portrait—

the one where our faces ached from smiling
at the perfectly browned bird,

Cold Duck chilled
in the Frigidaire,
and the red and green Jell-O-mold

quivered. How to say he threw me back. He helped

flush me out.
He yanked an arm, and she a…

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