“The lovesick tablecloth,” by J. I. Kleinberg

Dec 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Poetry

I never did love the knife.
Just once I felt his dull
serrations. It wasn’t his fault.
He didn’t intend to cut me.
But after that, his very weight
against me made me cringe.
For a long time, I was obsessed
with plates. The cup accused
me of chasing anything flat
and perhaps there was some truth
in her words, though I never lusted
for a trivet. I dreamed of plates—
oh god, sometimes two
or even three at a time—
slipping into my folds.
Those long nights in the dark drawer.
The silky sheen of porcelain skin.
The subtle rubbing.
It had to end.
I was a wreck in the morning,
a wrinkled mess. Couldn’t lie still.
I talked to the washing machine,
the clothes line, the iron,
even the drawer,
until everyone was sick
of my pathetic whining.
Funny, what ended it was a picnic
at the beach: sand in my seams
and the plates were done with me.
After that, there were dalliances—
goblet, candelabra, pepper mill.
I’ve never told anyone this,
but one night, wine-soaked after a party,
I got into it with the centerpiece.
Best not to discuss it.
The cup—jealous, I suppose—
made insinuations about my
“relations” with the table,
but that was too incestuous,
even for me.
I hated what had happened
to my reputation.
For a couple of months,
I stayed in the drawer,
did my yoga, listened
to the chatter of the napkins.
I’m more serious now, subdued.
The cup says all I think about
is my work. But that’s not true.
All I think about is Soap.
The almost inaudible popping
of iridescent bubbles,
warm and wet around me.
The heady scent that lingers
in my very fibers.
Nobody—and I should know, right?
—nobody dances like Soap.
I want my Soap. Again. Now.
Come on, Gravy.
Do your worst, Spaghetti.
Let me feel your coffee, Cup.


Defenestration-Generic Female 01A freelance writer, artist and poet, J.I. Kleinberg works and plays with words and blogs most days at chocolateisaverb.wordpress.com. Her writing has appeared in numerous journals, recently including Clover/A Literary Rag, Feathertale, Northwind, Mojave River Review, and Star 82 Review. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, and doesn’t own a television.

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