Guest Poet Diana Rosen

Dinner at 6

Just like every night, our family sits around
the canary yellow Formica and chrome table,
on stick-to-your-thighs matching vinyl chairs,
eating a wintertime meal of the fifties
gray canned peas, home-made potato soup,
a good chunk of meat. We talk about our day,
which customers came into my parents' music shop;
what my sister and I learned in school, how the piano
practice went, till I can't resist, and ask still another riddle
which reminds my father of a joke which reminds my mother
of an even older one, and around the table we go, plyaing
can you top this? My mother leaves to answer the phone,
returns walking slower, looking older. MARY CAN'T COME
HER HUSBAND. We lean against our padded chairs,
blinded June Taylor dancers in a silent ballet 
of sorrow. For once, my sister and I get up, clear the table
without being asked, keep to our room where we hold hands
stretched across matching corduroy-covered beds,
listen to the murmuring voices downstairs.

July, 2000

Diana Rosen's Questions:

The concerns and questions I have about this poem are technical and structural e.g. are line breaks the best they can be, should I use italics (shown as all-caps because i dont know if they'll be lost in email transition) and punctuation, e.g. the occasional use of the dreaded exclamation point or question marks for rhetorical phrases.

As for my references to place, they are true, and specific to my story; does it matter to the reader?

Do they need to know more about the place or should place be a character or should place be simply a reference?

The Albany Poetry Workshop