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  • I am eleven years old. Last night we had TV dinners and the night before we had pork chops. Now I am surveying bones. These are the bones that we put in the compost after dinner two nights ago. There are bits and pieces of canned peas and what-not from the week's spoils. Usually I get cereal and milk and eat on my own- sometimes with my brother. It is before dawn and everyone else is still asleep. The garbage on my plate stinks. I am discomfited.

    My step father takes his place across from me in his sacrosanct manner. His hands are plaited together, resting upon the table. His head is jouncing up and down. He is incredulous. I am puzzled, but I am beginning to put some pieces together. Sometimes I can wane and leave my body at the scene of whatever he is prescribing. Other times, when he requires something so immeasurable, I am agonizingly present.

    He casts out a hot sigh. I swear I can feel it curl about my face- I am ensconced in his poison. I have done something heinous again. I have deeply offended his sensibilities and I need to do my penance. I sense though, that I will have to confess first and I am searching myself for words.

    Yes sir, I enjoyed these pork chops the other night. Yes Daddy, I understand how hard he works to pay for our food. I feel my mother's love and care when she prepares our meals. I try to clean my plate. I try to eat just exactly as he has taught my brother and me. He wants to know why, then, do I waste food? Why am I such an ingrate?

    I'm sorry, Daddy. I ate all of my food. This is a bone- I can't eat that. I am inspecting the grey carnage on my plate- three grisly wastes- some fat hanging off. My stomach is flitting about. I am actually thinking about what would happen if I asked to be excuse form the table, like after any meal. A long silence issues and blankets us. The distance between him and me is closing as I wait to hear what I know he is about to say.

    He tells me to eat my breakfast. We do not waste food in this house.

    I eat garbage- rancid flesh.
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