The Weeping Mandolin

I am walking circles around our dining room table.

I am folding napkins and placing them,

just so,

beside each setting.

I am all jittery elbows and forced witty banter.

I feel his fingers slide down my shoulder –

some strapless thing I must tug back into place.

I am letting my thoughts skip

dancing along the frayed edge of our tablecloth

like a kitten, distracted, disregarding.

I am going to tell you tonight

that the man who filled this seat at our table,

that let your baby boy sign his name blind

to a contract for five years,

one head injury,

a lifetime of PTSD…

I am going to sit in the seat next to where he sat.

I am going to keep my eyes so low

I can count the grains of salt on the table.

I am going to tell you

I was locked in his bathroom.

That the sound of the metal scraping

as he picked the lock

is etched somewhere in the thin skin at my temple.

I am going to tell you that I can still hear his laugh

when my boyfriend called, trying to find me.

He laughed and I felt it shake through me.

I am going to tell you that the bathroom linoleum

had blue paisley flowers and they were pressed frozen against my cheek.

I am at our dining room table

“You’re going to ruin this for your brother.”

and dinner is getting cold.

“Why are you causing him trouble?”

And I am fragile as the neck of a weeping mandolin –

“You need to tell the truth and stop this.”

but you heard my song and cut my strings.

© Laura A. Lord, 2020

Thank you to MindLoveMisery for the prompt.

9 thoughts on “The Weeping Mandolin

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