by Mario William Vitale
(Wolcott, Ct, USA)
Home for the holiday from New Orleans,
with Mother and Father at the tiny
drop leaf, brown rosewood, mahogany
table with the gold, grinning claw feet;
Father, choler- red-in the-face, short-
sleeved white shirt and cane, says the blessing
as Mother brings in the turkey and cranberry.
Then Mother asks, " Won't you have more ?' and father :
"Do you think Moll Flanders was a whore ?"
(I have suffered and bleached my hair blond. )
I am silent before their replies.
Mother sighs. "I can scarce speak to her."
And Father, too, quotes Shakespeare. (I am thin
as paper and the rose- colored bowl
of blown glass sitting on the silver stand,
half- filled with water. )
" How shaper than a serpent's tooth it is
to have a thankless daughter "