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too, when he looks at me the same way, like he’s not sure what to make of me. He looks at us like we’re unfamiliar, like we’re not the family he thought he knew or wanted. He looks at us like we’ve grown horns from our heads, like our bodies confuse him. Mother ignores him. I can tell she’s keyed up inside. Father’s glass is full again. Mother moves around me, as though I’m part of the kitchen’s inherent construction. I’m still here on the floor with my blanket, wedged between the cabinets’ right angle. She steps over my feet, swinging a hot plate of food high over my head. Her knees look so soft. I’d like to rub the side of my face against them, but she’s keyed up and busy with supper. The fragrant heat from the oven is nice on my left cheek, strong with the smell of broiling, over-seasoned chicken. “You’re a bitch, you know that?” Father mutters, breaking the silence of warm air. I can’t see his face. It’s hidden by the wet bar that’s too high for me to see over from here on the floor. I imagine he’s staring into the bottomless, warm bister of his glass. Mother refuses to acknowledge him, but I can sense a bitter tension in the elevated coercion with which she’s peeling the ruddy skin from a russet potato. 10

The Metric Issue 08 - Literary Magazine  
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