Dinner with my Mother
by Nick Allen Herink
Nick Allen Herink

Nick Allen Herink is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nick has previously been published by the Catholic Daughters of America, Pank Magazine and Laurus for which he received the Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Poetry.

My mother is eating poultry.
She tells me my father is a drinker;
like I haven't heard it before,
but she looks older than I remember.
She munches her cornish hen with short breaths,
the way she has since I was small—
as if she didn't eat it quickly
someone would take it from her.

She has moved on to her mashed potatoes now.
I tell her of a new romance.
She makes a hiccup noise and doesn't respond.
I ask her if she has any questions.
She tells me I get mad when questions are asked—
still taking short breaths as she comes up for air.

She returns to her salad—the one
she asked the waitress to keep at the table.
Your father spends our money she tells me,
on gambling and booze no doubt.
I watch in horror—
A small drip of bleu cheese dressing
forms on the corner of her mouth.
She is eating too quickly to notice it though.

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