It is a nicer restaurant: tablecloths & steak knives. Over in the corner, a couple and their daughter sit quietly.
Jessica Helen Lopez is a Poetry and Creative Writing Teacher/NM History Instructor at Robert F. Kennedy Charter High School. She is a former member of 2006 and 2007 City of Albuquerque Slam Team and the 2008 National Champion UNM Lobo Slam Team. She is currently a member of the writing collective and performance troupe Mestizo Mouth.
At the restaurant, across the table
of neutral salt shakers, and violent forks
our stiff backs like wooden chairs
betray an ancient battle.
We discuss the finer points of divorce
over spilled merlot and plates of cold food.
You speak, and I grit my ears. My face a closed envelope.
I draw lines in the spilt salt with my steak knife.
Our daughter is a dividend,
carved from my hip
and a piece of your rib.
She scribbles furious
red circles marking the paper,
bleeding the tablecloth.
Her voiceless soul rustles,
a thousand shards of glittering mirrors
hanging like leaves from a tree.
Poised above her delicate head
her seashell ears
her round face
hair like fine spun silk,
Solomon’s hefty sword,
ready to burst her
bone from flesh
cut her in half,
one piece for me
one for you.
We swallow the last
of our bitter wine,
split the bill
and part ways.
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