My Mother Comes to Dinner

By Sally Bliumis-Dunn

Featured Image: Green Plums by Joseph Decker, 1885
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington

We leave the dining room and she remains
alone at the table; the plates need washing,
we prepare dessert. I still wait for her

questions, half-buried in dish-clatter,
her broken tones in the hot kitchen air,
though these days she sits mostly silent.

And larger than the room and yellow walls, her silence—
as though it were strung to the sky,
to the air that too has been washed and washed

like a bed sheet in the relentless sun,
colors and patterns mostly faded

like all the meals enjoyed then washed
from these brown earthenware plates.

Sally Bliumis-Dunn teaches Modern Poetry at Manhattanville College and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival. Her poems appeared in New Ohio Review, Plume, Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, PLUME, Poetry London. Her third collection, ECHOLOCATION was published by Plume editions/MadHat Press in March, 2018. Echolocation was long-listed for the Julie Suk Award and was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. In 2002, she was a finalist for The Pablo Neruda Prize. For more from Sally Bliumis-Dunn visit

Originally appeared in NOR 17

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