Mr. Morchek, already stooped
from arthritis, curled over
the pot on the stove, steam
on his glasses, and stirred opaque
soup for our sleepover dinner.
We sat waiting, comparing nail polish,
while my friend’s older sister set
the table. No one mentioned their
mother, who had left months ago
and gone home to Mexico. No one
spoke of it, but both sisters wore white
linen shirts she had made, with
explosions of dainty embroidered
coral flowers and apple-green leaves.
And then, like bright colors on skulls
for a Day of the Dead celebration
of what was once there, but now
is gone, he took his chair at the head
of the table, while hers, at the other
end, sat empty.
Ellis Eliot has been published in Belle Ombre, The Broken Plate, Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal, Cerasus Magazine, Cider Press Review, Copperfield Review Quarterly, Courtship of Winds, The Ear, The Ignatian Literary Magazine, Isele Magazine, Literary Mama, The MacGuffin, Meadow, Pennsylvania English, OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters, Riggwelter, Neologism Poetry Journal, Perceptions Magazine, Plainsongs, The Rail, Signal Mountain Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, Sierra Nevada Review, Spotlong Review, Streetlight Magazine, and Wrath-Bearing Tree. Her poems “Easy Fix,” “After Words,” and “Our Truest Hungers” have been nominated for the Best of the Net awards. Elliot participated in the Palm Beach Poetry Festival 2015 Workshop with poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Rhodes College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University. She has taught ballet for over 30 years, and currently teach ballet, yoga, and lead online and in-person writing groups.