between Amy’s attempt to summon one, if any, of her five children to clear the
dining room table. What it didn’t do was block the noise that seeped through the walls, and under her skin, choking out
her sanity, pinning her between the concrete slabs of a house.
down, in every way. She imagined herself some kind of adventure hero, walls closing in on her. Every night something spilt off the table and onto the floor. Over the table. Whatever it was, the Kirkland brand of vanilla soy milk, water, Gatorade or some experiment that Ian brought to the table – some mix of baking soda and dirt and liquid soap, which it was this time, she was sure before looking. Her eyes only registered it, too tired she was to take it away, too resigned to the slightest bit of joy she could find through
her son’s experimental play.
that not one mother not working out of the home – the expression that made the drudgery of motherhood some kind of consolation prize of, “Oh, yeah… We’ll count the shit work you do as a job,” –
desecrated the table and a room, clean for approximately twenty minutes between finishing the floors and polished table, and their arrival home. A tabletop with bins and books and half-finished dinners stopped her in her tracks.
kitchen, the stream of a spilt concoction from the tabletop directly under his feet that hung above it in a chair, a puddle made a few prints facing toward Amy, who wiped the back of her hand across her mouth, and the red bits of tomato sauce that stuck to the outermost creases.
index finger that curled around it while the other fingers held onto the plate.
around the slightly concave plate, flecked with tiny broccoli blossoms. Chips along the edges of the tableware had become part of their design. She never noticed them anymore, at least not until they broke.
their little house with five kids. She pressed the palm of her hand on her belly as she knelt to the hardwood floor.
and a flare going off inside her. Guilt muffled it into a state of self-control, looked around to the fake, black
granite kitchen counters, the railroad, narrowness of it that made more than one person in that kitchen crowded and a episode of exacting impatience.
the trash can so that the bones and the gelatinous caramel-colored fat dribbled
into the white, tall bag lining.
muttering of instructions. She set the black, plastic base to the chicken container in the sink, it’s contents on the porcelain plate on the stovetop with two All Clad pots – one filled with spaghetti and another with marinara sauce.
then ice cubes from the tray, fractured so that not one stayed intact in the rectangular pit. She remembered that the secret to forming a perfect ice cube was the slow melt of an icicle. Slow and impossible to replicate with just a top freezer. The only way for an ice
cube to become perfectly clear and without fissures to insult its clarity, is for it to form slowly in a mold inside a small cooler of water that must harden around the molds.
cabinet below her and took hold of the wine bottleneck. The click of aluminum attachments was as
forgiving as the screw top swiveled around the small hole. The bottle of red wine was larger than the
standard but not quite a gallon, and it was a sensible buy at the local BevMax where she could spend very little and walk away with something reasonably good and large enough that she would not have to fit another store visit into her grocery store schedule visits.
side and the wall between her and her children, muffled her voice. The only way they could hear her was to
yell. It made her always seem angry. That and her incapacity to hide tired stress.
quarter vanilla iced birthday cake that was Ian’s, and cut five slices remaining from it.
diet. She ate off one plate, then another, pushing with a knife some of the last into the garbage.
dessert plates. Then she ate what was left of the right angle of icing once stuck to the outside of a slice, filling her tummy beyond what was comfortable despite the baby’s kick, and felt the
spaghetti and pasta and butter and sugar swirl into sickness.
kitchen and upstairs, where she locked herself in the bathroom to the right of the two children’s bedrooms, flushed the toilet of urine and toilet paper and wiped the seat of its yellow droplets, leaned over the bowl, waiting for the swish to stop and the water to barely calm before she shoved the index and
middle finger of her right hand, her teeth grazing the raw flesh above her knuckle.
intestines hurled into a tunnel of loose red and white flecks, the mush covering her hand so that one stitch of satisfaction came to her not long before she was done and empty. All but for the pushing inside her, phantom she was sure, because the little person before was still too small to be awake and want anything.