Maultsaid, D. (2020, Oct.) Wreck Everything. Riddle Fence, #37, Fall, 2020
By Deirdre Maultsaid
The cat scrabbled on the shelf, gave one
choked howl, and landed upright
on the couch back. I watched the cat.
The cat watched my mother. The round black
vase tipped, it toppled, it fell. Shards
clattered and rocked. The surface of
Oaxaca clay, burnished with the back
of a silver spoon had shone
like jet, like sky. With three splayed
legs and a lattice of cut-out triangles
at its lip, it was heavy, present,
ours. My mother turned off
the stove with a quick click. The pan
clanged. She threw potato wedges
to the floor and jumped
on them, splattering her
Cuban heels. “Let’s wreck everything!
Everything! How do you like them
apples?” She slapped me
—my brother says she didn’t—
the needle from my sweet-
voiced Jackson Five 45
of “Ben”. She slapped down
a mariachi record, the peal of
silver trumpets moving
her forward. Taller, she turned
to my brother, now sweeping
and sniffling, “Stop it.
–My brother says she didn’t—
by two black paws the cat
still slinking nearby. She held it out
like a gift. It stiffened.
My mother shouted
at me: “Open the damn door”.