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Excused
Amy M. Clark (bio)

After my husband
and son finished
eating and left the table,
taking their plates
to the kitchen, I remained
sitting with the bunched-up
napkins, the salt
and pepper shakers,
empty salad bowl,
and milk-rimmed glass.
I pushed my own plate
to the side. I put
my head down
and cradled it
with my arms. This

was familiar. This body
like this was familiar.
This weight in here. This
muting. It was

my father, after dinner
at the table of six.
We scraped our plates
around him and went off
to do our homework
or lessons, or to read. Talk
on the phone. Change
shoe sizes. Fill out
the applications. Starve
ourselves. Marry. Accept
our just rewards.

 

 

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