The Kitchen II
He’s had too much to drink again
my sister whispers, while he staggers
to the kitchen, staring
at the oven timer like an infant
discovering sight, steadying a hand
against its blinking light. My sister
is too young, she shouldn’t understand
such limits, shouldn’t speak of it
in a voice already losing
its silver, shouldn’t whisper
at me as if I’m a conspirator. Later
in the night the timer goes off
like a bad weather alert
or air raid siren detecting danger.
I get up to make it stop, expecting
to discover warmth, a towel on a burner,
forgotten chicken blackened in foil.
But there’s nothing. Just an angry rasp
in an airless kitchen with a dark
and empty heart.