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.