Dinner at Lola’s

By Alisha Attella

There was a moment that I missed in between
days when my kids became something else.
They chatter and whinny and laugh now
telling stories of their days without me.

Elbows to the table, I sit and listen and ask the good questions
I watch the tipped old man smile in our direction
I raise cheers with my $4 beer and their fancy kid cups
And make slow eyes at the waiter with the mule-heart tattoo

There was one night that I remember so clear,
I ordered the first big pizza to come to our place.
The boy brought it in one of those hot bags.
His little stitched visor looked just like a crown.

The kids were smaller then and they pooled to our door,
so proud presenting the money to King Domino,
dollars to ransom our time from the kitchen
and from the days, so close behind, where there was
too much work and Mom was wet sand
heavy because things weren’t ever enough.

So now, it’s dinner at Lola’s on the short drive home,
and these little people sitting with me don’t remember
the first ransomed night, criss-cross-applesauce
on the floor with a big cheap pizza, because now
pennies are saved aside for these nights, pinched
so that once a week I can buy moments outright

Six bucks for my dreamy daughter framed by trumpet red blooms,
another six for my son with a fork full of confetti-bright rice,
and just a few pennies more to see them hang, suspended
in mid-bite forever, while they talk about the lines in the sky.

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