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Quirks and Quarks

Kitchen Table Études

The simple maple table, where I first saw my father cry, my mother’s hand on his, he searched her eyes, asking why his brother should be first to die; I did not hear her whispered reply;

where toast and eggs was the answer to what’s for breakfast, before arms-legs-feet pedaled into my first delightful frightful cicada day, a throbbing buzz of red-eyed zombies – my mother said most would die;

where in spring sprouted Easter baskets, lilacs and daffodils, baby bottles, three city papers, Superman comic books, and my father’s copy of The Rubaiyat, artifacts of our family’s hearts and minds;

that stood in reach of the white enamel double sink where partners washed and dried side by side – I knew cigarettes and sweat was father, mud and blood my brother, and grandmother, clean cotton and roses;

that anchored the kitchen and our home so small I could reach through the window, touch our neighbor’s red brick bungalow, and in fifteen bounding steps cross our hardpan yard from lush pink peonies to harsh chain-link fence;

but when I taxied my black X-15 fighter plane for take-off from its kitchen table runway, the nose of my jet pushed the boundary of my bungalow universe faster than sound into starlight across the galaxy, my course, destination, adventure breathlessly recounted to my baby sister following each soft safe touchdown between the breakfast dishes.

By markthegrey

I am a biologist, author, poet, professor, and parent. I nest in Aurora, IL with my spouse and about two to four kids.

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