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What Fits Around the Kitchen Table

by Finn Maxwell

The cup sits on the counter. The cup sits half empty. This part of the hospital is half filled with uncanny hushes. The air sits half empty, and I would call it eerie but it’s much more homely. The rivets in the cushions, the minutes ticking by. The page is half blank and asks me half sensible questions. I find it’s hard to stay tentative. The painting on the wall shows me a jungle forest, what a pleasing alternative. Have you considered not drinking? To save your father from hurting? The man's page is nearly full, covered in scribbles on either side. The door is still, but I feel the pressure on either side. You would think, right? To go right to the heart of it. But I found the heart not too long ago in a box buried not deep enough; I wiped off the dirt, and read it a prayer; then, I set it back down, and buried it back with my stare. This is what you do to me with your attitude, I’m all lost in my head, can’t recall its longitude or latitude. I used to be better at this. I’m not very good at this. And admission when vague is no step forward so I take one step back in the wake of every consultation. Do your worries keep you up? I don’t avoid sleep, it’s no contagion to me. I embrace the worries in all their variations, meeting in violent confrontations of which I often wake from fright. Who am I to push away my guilt just to enjoy the night? How does the man talk for so long without so much a drink or a cough to admit a wrong. That’s a lot of church. And it made me no more holy. What children take for granted while in no control of the brake. The gas tank is half empty but I ride past your station for pettiness sake. You know how teens are, And pointing to the scene of the crime is the witnessing. I don’t have my prefrontal yet. Lacking direction is how I learned to speak, purely referential. I tell myself my evasion is only reverential. Following: you know, and like, and if you what I’m saying. My language sits on my left shoulder, and my mind on my right. My language sits half empty. Following: if that makes sense. You’re bright, A word I wish I was brave enough to face at its party so alike, but I would only feel out of place. The bottle lays knocked over on the floor. The bottle lays empty like a lost message washed ashore.


Finn Maxwell is a sophomore in high school. He writes essays and poems, often taking inspiration from personal experience and his rural, mountainous hometown in California. Finn is looking forward to publishing his work. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys exploring his local state park, sketching, and listening to music.


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