Kitchen Study of Early Adulthood

— Cleo Qian

Clouds, then uncommon rain, striking the glass door panes, darkening the mahogany wood stain, uncommon and illusory the light, my mother at the long table with her back turned watching the olive trees tremble. The canyon gone behind the cloud cover, our Penasquitos drop of sharp-pointed wild rye, of grass snakes, red earth, a drone. Eyes, like hearts, are susceptible to optical illusions. If the drone were a painter, it would sketch this tableau: domestic scene of mother looking out at garden, daughter hidden in the foreground watching her mother, daughter pretending, or pretending not to pretend, there is no pain in a love so still and distant—in imagining love, which hasn’t turned around, is about to stir and look back.

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