Kate Hall – Family

Kate Hall


In the room where he would hit her, it was like the inside of a shell.

I press myself against the boy at the supermarket.“The stars know what we do,” he says.

The woman next to me in line has an arm shortened by war or love.

What remains of her hand is shaped like a diorama.

I imagine a family living there, a bird shaped like a flower,

a child eating candy in the upstairs room.

My doctor removes a precancerous legion

from the part of my body most resembling my mother.

I call to tell her I have fallen in love.

“Is it that boy from the supermarket again?” she asks and I remind myself

we all come from somewhere.

My mother goes to her husband’s retirement party.

She cuts her mouth with a fork that is missing one of its prongs.

“My tongue doesn’t fit anymore,” she says, her speech slowed

like insects after a rain. “I am thinking of other uses for it.”

“Disease begins in the roof of the mouth,” I tell her.

I think of my one roomed apartment, the small dog

I bought on sale.

“Is emptiness an emotion?” my sister asks me on the telephone.

It is five years since her husband died. Her new boyfriend

is looking for a job in the event planning industry.

“Some of the brightest people I know suffered a great loss,” I tell her.

Silence hangs in the air like a plane that has just decided to fall.

“Do you know he still hits her?” she asks and I look the other way

even though there is a set of states between us,

too many trees to count and a man

who is learning to love her.


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