Emily Kendal Frey: “The Way Family Works”


The Way Family Works

On the stage

The dream stage

Light of hope streaming in

You’re screaming

Your mom in one doorway

Your dad in the other

The doors hanging open

Where is tomorrow

Where are the families

With technology

Where is the car

The package of underwear

The long shoelaces

A trip to the cereal aisle

You are screaming and it hurts

The back of your throat ribbed

Your spine trying to keep pace

Where is the audience

The glowing coverlet

The cup of water

The sleep

Where can you turn around

Walk back

It’s a heaven of time

And you’ve got no family

Even the sound

The noise you make

Is not enough to put arms around

Emily Kendal Frey¬†is the author of the full-length poetry collections¬†Sorrow Arrow (Octopus Books, 2014) and¬†The Grief performance¬†(Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011); the chapbooks¬†Frances¬†(Poor Claudia, 2010),¬†The New Planet¬†(Mindmade Books, 2010), and¬†Airport (Blue Hour, 2009); as well as three chapbook collaborations. Frey’s¬†The Grief Performance was selected for the Cleveland State Poetry center’s 2010 First Book Prize by Rae Armatrout. She also won the Poetry Society of America’s 2012 Norma Farber First Book Award.

“The Way Family Works” appeared first in the Summer & Fall 2015 print edition of¬†Poetry Northwest.