Barbara Crooker: “Diorama”


Take a shoe box, set it on its side.

Color the knotty pine paneling brown.

Place a small nuclear family

in the early American chairs.

Macaroni and cheese bubbles

in the oven, and the crust thickens

on a loaf of banana bread.  The den

is an altar to the black & white TV.

There’s a fireplace in the living room,

but no smoke in the chimney, and no one

listens to the hi-fi, where records,

shiny black platters, once spun, music

threading from the scratchy needle.

The mother stands by the stove, waiting

to serve.  The father has tamped down

his anger for the night.  The children

are quiet, waiting for the future.

Barbara Crooker is a poetry editor for Italian Americana and author of nine books; Some Glad Morning, Pitt Poetry Series, is the latest. Her awards include the Best Book of Poetry 2018 from Poetry by the Sea, the WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships. Her work appears in a variety of anthologies, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature.

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