Back Home: Unemployed

by Gabriella Brand

He watched her spooning black bean chili into a bowl,
knowing she was trying to fill the hollow
inside the quiet,restless man,
still her son
who had come down to dinner, sullen as an adolescent,
a stale odor oozing from his clothes,
gray hairs peppering his head.

In his old room, a basketball trophy, just one,
a ribbon from a spelling bee back in Middle School,
his childhood bed.
He had asked about the stuffed lion, a team mascot,
long destroyed by moths.
Then he stretched out full length on the chenille bedspread,
groggy from fourteen hours in a Greyhound Bus,
exhausted from all the jobs that hadn’t worked out,
beginning to snore
in the one warm place that remained.

Copyright 2015, Gabriella Brand

Gabriella Brand’s fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in The First Line, Cordite, Room Magazine, The Binnacle, and in numerous anthologies. One of her stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014. Gabriella lives near New Haven, Connecticut. When she is not teaching foreign languages, Gabriella can be found traveling the globe, mostly on foot.

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