Gina Forberg

Driving on the Massachusetts

Turnpike, I thought about you and

your love affair with junk food.

I saw golden arches, swerved,

steered my car into

a McDonald’s parking lot.

I ordered an Egg McMuffin

slick with bacon, American

cheese, and thought about how

we shared that tartuffo, last night

in the North End, how you slid

your hand, bangled with bracelets,

under the table, squeezed my thigh.

You ordered the Shrimp Gamberi,

ripe with plum tomatoes, chopped

parsley. You told me in Australia

shrimp were called prawns. You

asked me if they were called

this in America and I said

only in Chinese restaurants.

Gina Forberg

You could not sleep without it,

the whirl, recycled air.

It was a bedtime routine;

teeth brushed, story told,

lights out, fan on.

As a newborn, we left you

vibrating on the dryer, placed

you in a battery-operated swing,

drove you around the block

in your car seat as we acquainted

ourselves with the neighbors,

local road signs, varieties

of fauna.

At one, you swapped the dryer

for the tactility of buttons;

plastic, metal, wood. At two,

the lullaby song on the swing

stopped playing and by three

you invented your own road signs.

At four the fan has stayed with you.

The motor’s belt is wearing thin.

Dust gathers in the vents; we fear

fire. The fan must go.

Outside the highway buzzes,

my husband’s breathing becomes

inhuman. I cannot release my body

to sleep. The sheets rustle.

Gina Forberg is an elementary physical education teacher in Westport, Connecticut. She holds an MAW from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. Her work has appeared in The New Delta Review, Slant Magazine, The Mochila Review and other literary journals. She lives in Fairfield, Connecticut with her husband, Jim and her son, Griffin.

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