The children took sloppy spoonfuls of lemon lush
they called lemon slush behind her back.
They shirked the tart dessert, left to play on the back porch,
and shoveled it through lattice skirting.
The grandma snuck a can of Bud into the punch,
clouding the taste with scoops of sherbert.
She watched the kids wobble and get sleepy,
dip grubby fingertips into a dish of stale mints.
The parents brought up the past in predictable slights and smiles,
clucked through teeth and eyes tainted by wine.
They bragged about the children’s bowel habits and birthdays.
They ate the lemon lush without tasting it.
When dinner gave way to dishes
the children wanted to know anew
about the mounted buck, its eight points jutting from the wall.
They waited for the grandma to pantomime plucking out eyeballs,
her inexpert taxidermy, followed by their frightened question:
Can it still see us? And her abiding reply: I don’t know.
By Micaela Mascialino
Micaela Mascialino holds an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and an MS in Narrative Medicine from Columbia University. Her poems have appeared in Barbaric Yawp, The Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, The Anthology of New England Writers, and Four Way Review.
Work for Monthly Verse is selected through our editorial process. New poems are selected from authors that submitted work for the last issue. Read more authors by subscribing to Fjords.