Take it, kill it, eat
João Vale and José Candido
You spent the afternoon throwing stones at the chickens
running back and forth in the yard
and little brother would imitate all the pieces
of the universe you would concede him. Your aim
was poor but you had time and so many little chickens.
At dinner you were both obliged to eat the bodies
by father’s voice prying open your mouths.
Mother’s silence tore the moon from the window
and the sound of the sea was hushed
as if it were stealing our childhood.
Stock still in the dining room
silence weighed like the stones
and was more accurate
Parents think of the children of others
as children dressed in the upright propriety
of Sunday Mass. And they wish
their own were like that, that they would give them
a little rest, but the cup is already falling
and the saucer comes next with the sound of the spoon
tinkling on the floor. The tray spills a fish
with its wide-eyed stare on the table cloth, potatoes dance,
the sauce spatters across mother’s dress, your laughter
passes to our mouths and all eyes on the table cloth.
“Oh, Joni, why must you always be fooling around?”
And you stare at our parents who once again
threaten to call the bogey-man.
Maybe you were staring above them
at something you couldn’t see