You never were very bright
as she boxed his ears
and served him another helping of corn pudding.
The boy never said a word
just continued to smash peas
with a dirty fork,
watching the tines pierce their green skin,
and burying them
under a river of gravy
that ran down the greasy plate.
But his eyes never left mama's face
as his fork tapped the chipped formica
and he felt her sickly sweet smile
roll down his cheeks
into the gravy
caught under his lip