Nighttime, winter. There are six of us sitting at the kitchen table,
like Arthur’s knights. My mother laughing as I try to block my eyes
against the heavy moths hurling themselves at us.
The windows are lacteal with steam from boiling pasta and breath
but I know their spread wings and I can hear them
hitting over and over and over, bodies on glass.
Bright Sundays spent in the garden—
my sister collecting snails, my brother standing at the barbeque.
I slice piles of onions. Peeling
their delicate skins and crying.
My mother in the backyard marvels
at the pepper of crabapple petals.
The football on the television,
I am spread out in front of the old electric heater. My father
sending us back to the kitchen for another beer,
before we knew it was bad.
Still, when I hear
the commentary, the shouting, the sledges
I think of my sacrum flat on the rug, my shins burning, and my mother asking
how much longer until this is done?
Sleeping in a brick house in January
the evening static and luminous under the blinds my mother sewed.
My sister breaths slowly in the bunk above me, syncopating with the
brush of insect legs.
My mother in the bathroom, running cold water over a washcloth
and delivering it to my hot forehead.
Using a silver army knife to stab between my brother’s eight-year-old fingers
faster and faster; we are laughing. It’s so easy—
the knife-tip slicing into the soft varnish on the table.
Although one slip
my brother’s baby nail split in two, right down the middle. He is white, I am pressing
tissues around and around the fingertip, the blood still beading.
He won’t let me get mum, reading on the purple couch in the next room
you’ll get into trouble.
Violet light, cold on my mother’s polar fleece jumper
as she tells me about the time she watched a storm bear down from the top of the street,
trowel in hand, dumbstruck. A clear line
drawn in water on the asphalt.
The porch light flicks on and my father calls us out of the dirt and in to dinner.