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Sam Stine

Prayer at Dinner

dinner was an examination
with little talk. each dish
a memory, forced together,
holding on to the plate
with butter and sugar
dad sips dark beer from bottles.
mom washes cake down the drain.
brothers smoke pot out of sight.
a dog chews on golf shoes.
a family above the mantle smiles
sitting in the backyard grass
the sun shining from behind them
a different dog, now dead, behaving.
thoughts of 'what should be said,
that hasn't been said (or can't be said) ? '
and always the tapping feet,
running wild under the table
nudging the languid dog,
worried at the time they pass.

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