Two kids sitting at a dinner table with cords on their plates instead of food

Lost Argument

My parents are over for dinner,
and I bring up immigration.

A glass of wine and a year
of therapy have made me bold 

enough to ask with curiosity,
without feeling bullied

until your foot is tapping,
and voices raise to the familiar tenor

that makes my stomach cinch
like a fishing knot. 

I get close to your face and you
relax, not because of this moment, 

but a hundred before
when we have understood one another.

Afterward, I’m putting rice away
and you are irritated.

A few months ago, I wouldn’t have apologized.
I would have defended them or me 

or anything to ensure you knew I was right
and good, so you should not stop loving me.

Tonight, a few regretful words and
you are hugging me next to the refrigerator.

Safety clicks behind me like a closing door,
the soft repose of being wrong.

Image via Ted Emmons, Darling Issue No. 11

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