Friday, March 23, 2012


At the dinner table, before the thrown
plate, but after the bitter claim,
in the one beat of silence
before the parents declare war

their child, who had been temporarily
invisible, but who had from school
a catechism, speaks: "Would you like me
to help solve the conflict?"  Silence.

They can't look at each other.  A glance
would sear the soul.  A wall of fire seethes,
Maginot line through the butter plate,
split salt from pepper, him from her.  Silence.

So the child speaks: "Three rules, then:
One--you have to let each other finish.
Two--you have to tell the truth. Three--
you have to want to solve the conflict.

If you say yes, we will solve it.
I love you.  What do you say?"

- Kim Stafford

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