Her Aunt served antipasto and seven courses of fish
each Christmas Eve. Exile at the kid’s table
a punishment and blessing, the room of adults
desired and dull in equal measure.
Napkins on laps, Shirley Temples in crystal,
olives like rings adorning fingers.
Hours of soup and pasta, calamari and smelt,
cousins curled on couches in tight bunches,
weighted eyelids, closed. The aunts whirled,
plunged arms in sudsy water, clattered china.
In the quiet, darkened parlor she sat
on her Uncle’s lap, his hand inside her
waistband, misery round her shoulders,
tongue still within her mouth.
Carol McMahon is a teacher and poet who has work published, or forthcoming, in various journals (Prodigal, IthacaLit, Unlost Journal, The Wild Word, The Ekphrastic Review, Blue Collar Review) and has a chapbook, On Any Given Day, published by FootHills Press. McMahon received an MFA in Poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop in Washington State and when not teaching, reading or writing can be found out trail-running or on the water rowing.