Fall 2014 / Issue 96

Sarah Rose Nordgren

The stove doesn’t work. The food is painted

on the refrigerator door. No stairs join


the three levels, and the residents flit

between them, colorful, mute birds. Days


pass with the click of a switch and no matter

if Baby bathes with his clothes on, or Mother


in her fitted purple jacket, heeled shoes,

and with her wild silken hair spends a week


face-down on the laundry room floor, or

if when Father goes to work he is really only


waiting behind the sunroom to come back home.

There is a birthday party nearly every day,


no fear of death or failure, no mortgage

to pay, no money at all. And if the tiny pink


phone in the kitchen never rings, and the doors

don’t open, and if the family can’t bend


their knees to kneel in the warm square of light

on the plastic-wood floor, they are still


ready for you to set the table, snap the garden

fence back into place, position the pink crib


next to the blue, fix the girl onto her rocking horse,

and let your hand push the thing until it topples.