The Kitchen II – Poem

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.

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