Setting the Table
By: Francine Witte
I tell mother I am tired of it. Our family shrinks and shrinks, but still I set for five.
It’s only me and Mother now. Daddy gone. Brother and sister, too. And me? I’m not for long.
The trouble is Mother. How she rubs us in our biggest fears. With Daddy, she put spiders in his cereal box. Next thing, heart attack. Boom.
Brother and sister? Mother didn’t like the way they looked at one another. Said incest out loud and now they are fostered apart.
And me? I am trying to figure what Mother will do. How she will drive me out and tell everyone I left.
It’s almost time for dinner now. Five plates. Five spoons. Five very sharp knives. Mother relaxing by the TV, her fingers stroking the remote. She picks it up and stabs it into the air.