James Kwapisz

We take our places at the dinner table. 


Father at the head, of course,
and mother by his side;
brother across from me
and to my left the TV,
sitting with us and exchanging
worn maxims with my family.


Of my family, I am the quiet one.
The questionable one, who strangely
has nothing to say
about the lasagna
or the game,
or the TV-dinners
that eat my thoughts
as we dine each day.


The game is interrupted
by a special report.
Father grunts, brother whines,
mother takes a draught of wine.

Californian Fun Cut Short,
reads the headline.


We wipe the sauce from our mouths
to gasp at the scene described
by our moody guest’s face:
there on the screen,
buildings defaced, in ruins—
the pier in the sea—
the Ferris wheel in the dunes.
The funhouse on the fault line.


Someone changes the channel
and we continue to dine.


*This poem was written in Pauline’s undergraduate class, 2013-14.


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Shawangunk Review Volume XXXII Copyright © 2021 by James Kwapisz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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