By: Claire Scott
Every Sunday my mother serves burnt lima beans
doused in bitterness and butter. Her special
recipe. We tumble in from church where my
father sings Bach in the filtered light of stained
glass saints. Us kids in the front row under the glare of
his fixed eye. In our Sunday best we pinch and poke
pretending to listen. She full of night’s pills
and alcohol. Lumpy house coat askew.
Hair a-fly. Cook’s day off. Air thick with smoky resentment. My father clears his throat to say
a wobbly grace. Us kids never sure exactly what
we are grateful for. We sit to a bleak meal seasoned
with spite. She rearranges her food, listless, vacant, twirling her hair. We stare at our plates of burnt
beans. Us kids just sit, eyes down. No kicking
under the table or sticking out silent tongues.