to let me know Sonic
is including gravy
in their chicken strips dinner again.
He asks when I’m coming home
for Thanksgiving. We don’t
speak often. Having not been raised
in the same house, little has passed
between us— no shared night-lights,
no hand-me-downs to complain
about. And what there is
is mostly injury. One story,
he brings up again and again,
from back when Mama
and Johnny were still running
the Legion Lake Skating Rink.
To hear him tell it,
I shoved him into the metal guard rail,
hard enough that he broke his arm.
I barely remember it.
But omission is a kind
of flattery, and it wouldn’t be the first time
I’ve struck my cruelty from the record.
And, sure, I bet he wishes I couldn’t forget
throwing my weight behind
that hurt, the squeal of the skaters’ toe stops
as the whole place came to a halt.
But the fact is,
I knew how to draw a house
before he was born.
Maari Carter is originally from Winona, MS. Her work has appeared in such places as The Laurel Review, Meridian, and Sundog Lit, among others.