Vacation. by Jenn Blair

The Great Aunt the child had never met
asked someone standing near the kitchen
to turn off the lights as she sat down by
a violently whirring box—metal monster
with one fiery circle of light for an eye
like the child’s teachers sometimes used
to talk about Europe. A yellow dog
flashed onto the screen, then a gleaming
automobile and then an old man in a suit
lying down on a soft satin pillow, bright
flowers circling his bald spotted head.

As the fan whirred the Great Aunt
sighed and pushed the button again,
bringing up another old man lying
down: click and sigh, click and sigh, click—
his body piling up and up though
his face never changed and no one
else in the living room was talking,
no adults speaking, everyone just
as silent, just as still as the man
in the box. When the lights finally
came on again, she set down her grape
juice, then stood and wildly clapped.
Why did mother look like that,
like it would have been better
if she was lying beside the old man
with the blue handkerchief shoved
into his suit pocket, pale worm
lips pursed closely together,
all the sound already hissed out.

Jenn Blair has been published in Copper Nickel, New South, South Carolina Review, Rattle, Blood Orange Review, Segue, Kestrel, Rattle, Berkley Poetry Review, Tulane Review, the James Dickey Review, MELUS, Al Jadid, Superstition Review, and Cold Mountain Review among others. Her chapbook all things are ordered is out from Finishing Line Press.