Social Distancing Dinner

place setting

At ninety
the wicked stepmother
returns
bringing with her delusions
fueled on Fox News,
white bread
and mayonnaise
I can see it in her eyes
right before
she turns

unable to manage
her own fork
she attacks me with words
for being younger than her,
serving healthy food,
and refusing
to choke
on the color
of my ex-husband’s
new wife’s
brown skin
I hold onto my glass
for what else is there
to hold onto
when you want to wash
something other
than color
off of your skin
like a virus
she’d like to pass down
through generational channels
does she really imagine
peace is made
chewing with mouths open
excusing ourselves
in the Lord?
she says it’s not just the skin
don’t you know
it’s their culture
and they should be used
to uncharitable remarks
by now,
anyhow
she adds that his mother
must be rolling over
in her grave
I say perhaps
perhaps that’s true
Mother
because after all
I don’t think racists
get to go
to heaven
she tries to fling
her dinner plate at me
of chicken salad
on baby spinach
with those little, tiny
mandarin oranges
that came in the can
with the pull-back ring
though I try to stop her
it’s too late
and like her virus of words
the food I served to her
comes flying back at me
across my kitchen table

her own fork
she attacks me with words
for being younger than her,
serving healthy food,
and refusing to choke
on the skin color
of my ex-husband’s
new wife’s
brown skin
I hold onto my water bottle
tightly
for what else is there
to hold onto
and clutch
when  you want to scream
and wash something
other than color
from your skin
like a virus
passed unwittingly
from one generation
to the next
did she really think
we would eat
with our mouths open
our unkindness

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