It bothers the father more than the father can say,
this sound of the teeth and tongue of the son chewing
the food in the open mouth, this food that was the work
of the mother sitting beside the father and beside
the son, the mother between the father and the son, staring
down at the food on her white plate, praying
that the father does the work this time, the hard work
of keeping his mouth shut about the sound
of the son eating. She remembers the last time, the sound
of the father saying more than a father can say
to a son and keep a son’s love, a sound so like hatred
in the voice, so like hatred for the life taking the life-giving
food, that the boy stopped eating and the mother swallowed
hard. And it frightened the son and the mother, and even the father
more than any could say. So then there was no sound
at the table, only the echo of a sound. And now there is only
the memory of that echo, to remember, to keep holy.

About Paul Hostovsky

Paul Hostovsky's poems appear and disappear simultaneously (Voila). His work has recently been sighted in places where they paid him for his trouble with his own trouble doubled, and other people's troubles thrown in, which never seem to him as great as his troubles, though he tries not to compare. He has no life, and spends it with his poems, trying to perfect their perfect disappearances, which is the working title of his new collection, which is looking for a publisher and for itself. To read more of his poems, visit his website by clicking the link above.

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