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Original artwork by Meryl Quinn Kernell


Maia McPherson

Her son picks a flower

and it loses most of its petals 

by the time it gets to her.

She is scouring the bathroom 

with bleach, wearing giant 

yellow gloves. She is hungry 

her son is hungry her husband

is hungry so they sit at the table

and blink at each other

over quick-boiled pasta 

and jar sauce. Outside 

the sun humming, 

swampy plants erratic 

in the ditch. Far off, the

highway. Her husband says 

he needs to go to

Truth or Consequences, N.M. 

next week and she

and her son can come too,

if they want. She turns 

the salt shaker slowly 

like a dial, her son busy

with his plate. The phone 

rings out urgently

in the kitchen and 

they face each other 

two desert moons

each waiting for the other 

to rise.