Last Date at the Diner with Dad

He mashes his potato with the side of his fork. I rearrange my lettuce and tomatoes, tell a story about the lonely pickle being frog with warts. My sister reaches across the table, knocking her milk into a river between us. Jesus Christ! Dad’s voice rises, his face splotched like he’s caught poison oak. I offer up my napkin, push at my plate, smiling. Puckering up, my sister hisses Kiss Ass. This, our dance. Dad watches the performance. I bat my eyelashes. She sticks out her tongue. We’re out to prove the man about to leave forever won’t leave us.

Karen Benke is a poet-teacher with California Poets in the Schools and the author of a chapbook of poems, Sister, and the handwriting guide for kids, Rip the Page!


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