“Alcoholism” by Jaime Oesterling


Our kitchen table is a mosaic of memories.

Pink and purple playdough speckles the splintering grooves

made deeper by children who were silent.

Bits of frosted flakes and miniwheat grains

are crushed into the yellow caulk

that matches the color of your skin.

Near the head of the table

a broken wine glass covers years of red wine stains.

No one forgot they were there,

but we hid them the best we could.

Across from the stains, rays of sunlight shine

through the window onto a small patch of tiles

kept white by the Bible Mom once read.

I laughed when you covered our table,

with a red, plastic cloth and tried to bury

a life that you would not remember,

if your ghosts weren’t still alive.