After time is no longer of essence

For the first time in years we sit
around the dinner table again.
Let our thumbs reacquaint themselves
with the thin layer of grease coating wood
when the seven o’clock light hits
just right. Let our jaws rest restless,
inspect the grit buried under the half-moons
of my nails. Watch my father swallow soup.
He picks fishbones from between his teeth
and it seems even over full stomachs
there is nothing left to say that won’t end
in silence stretched thin. Nothing left to see
but the clinging truth of the matter,
that we stood under the eaves
betting on the sky to open and pour,
that we put our elbows to our knees
and when it was over, we had forgotten
what we were waiting for.

Rachel Chen studies creative writing at the University of Rochester. Her work has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and received the American Voices Medal in 2019. She drinks excessive quantities of lukewarm tea.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to After time is no longer of essence

  1. Perfect flow and wordplay.

  2. This is so touching, and I love the note. I, too, have been drinking excessive quantities of lukewarm tea.

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