I Learned from My Mother

how to face her
tongue unraveling
teenage words like Pop Rocks in my throat
I learned not to care what will happen
when I swirl my mashed potatoes in silence
watching my reflection in the pearl plate
I learned that apologies come
after the table is cleared
and are accepted
after the dishes are washed
when both sides stand head to toe
in the iridescent suds of a truce

Jessica Whipple