It is Hard to Say
Christopher Stein

Here is what I had intended:
I am forcing ridges into potato gnocchi on the back of a fork,
smiling, talking, my sisters are pressing breadcrumbs
into rings of squid dripping with egg;
my mother is mincing garlic with one of the tiny
knives she buys in four-packs at the dollar store;
my father is in his seat, sorting through
Christmas cards and those letters people send to tell you
that life is swell and you don’t know them all that well;
and I tell my family, without my stomach roiling, what is in my head.

But, here is how it went:
we have long since cleared each of the seven fishes,
stray breadcrumbs have been swept onto the floor,
and the dirt from the floor has been swept into a dustpan,
hoisted into the garbage, taken around back.
I am feeling brave, for once,
after a whole bottle of Gnarlyhead Cabernet Sauvignon.
One of my sisters has left to visit her in-laws;
the other is playing cards for money at a Filipino Christmas Eve
with her boss and boyfriend both.
I have watched an episode of Columbo until
everything feels back-to-front, and I say
that I am gay, and they both say, we knew.