Kylan Rice

Over soft-spoken meal times: the tip of one plate to the next, like swilling, tilted thoughts -- drainings of au jus or the clue of blood after defrosting meat on a plate. Father at the head of our table gives a small tutorial on how to manage one's fingers, or rich, pliant tastes. Like the meal, of course, the fight is all about presentation: the rose-nips of rapiers, the mint garnish of a hack-timed sparring-cry, a hand held at the lower back as gently as apprehension as to where on the waist is the tropic of modesty. This is who he's given birth to and raised without fiction or Rumi's engorged poetry, which we read under the table as if by the light of the meal. Isn't this repast? An anniversary? How so short a word could mean all of the phrase to strike or break with a fist -- tae (or) kwon. I emerge with the phrase go to the anniversary on my tongue as if one might find a one year-mark on the way there and not, instead, a quiet, private remembrance prayed over by father with his softer hands. Hands any other man might be ashamed of, but which could command in their own rite the tying up of sutures or the knotting of throats -- Acts of medicine so jealous of beauty that we couldn't even read of them -- how we had no choice but to laugh at him over our meals. How he exported all his mending, encouraged dynastic arts, how every supper has an archive, a rhythm of mark me, my words, my uncharacteristic sternness -- you see, i just want the world for the both of you