Do We Talk?
By Gianina Carter
With artwork by Emma Jensen
Once my father said to me over the phone,
‘You’re fine,’ more than once, a lot of times.
Next to me at our dining table
as clouds leak in past the cubed window.
‘As long as it doesn’t stop you from, ahh…’ he imitates
radio static when he can’t think in a straight line. Static that boxes
my ears like air pressure on the winding trip to Paluma.
His static is a Maggie Island pool in march-fly summer,
a day’s worth of sandcastle building
where the older sister is the boss. A breeze in spotty night
when sweat lines hairs on my legs. Fruit juice spilling
from my mouth to my chin at Home Hill Christmas.
The word arrives and he continues, ‘…doing
daily tasks. You know, your daily obligations.’
His hands lurch. Light glints a refracted gold off
his scratched wedding ring. Twenty-three years is a long time
for a two bedroom apartment. He asks, ‘Does it?’
I stare at royal blue on the table cloth,
blinking as if he blew powdered milk into my eyes;
my throat is burnt by gluggy melanzane and thrice-melted cheese.
I chew real slow, slow like the carburetor that won’t heat.
Gianina Carter is a poet, editor and memoirist. She’s interested in place and space, and writes about disability, mainly. Her writing has appeared in Scum, Stilts, and The Suburban Review Online. She edits poetry at Voiceworks and participates in Express Media’s Toolkits: Poetry.
Emma Jensen reads, writes and draws things. Follow @emmaleejensen.