Dinner by Mary Meriam

Dinner

Tonight I set the dinner table for
the remnants of my phantom family.
Here is the marriage spent in fantasy,
here is my stillborn brother, here is war
that wiped out all my relatives and tore
my mother’s mind to pieces, here is me,
here is a place beside me for big tree,
and here’s my sister shot down with a roar.
We flipped and landed upside down in hell,
no parachutes, just higher, hotter flames
burning our places right down to our names.
The empty plates have nothing left to tell.
Here is a table, here a fork and knife,
here is the phantom of a better life.

by Mary Meriam, from Conjuring My Leafy Muse

Editor’s Note: At first glance, this doesn’t read like a sonnet. The enjambment fractures the narrative, yet also perfectly complements the content of the poem: a broken family. Upon careful rereading, the rhyme pulls the story together and emphasizes the narrator’s sorrow at the dinner table.

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