When the Children Come Home

When the children come home
We don’t kill the fatted calf
But we do cook both ham and turkey
Casseroles and pies and fruit and flowers
Table groaning under the sacrament
Borne of blood and absence,
Every visit prodigal in its intensity
But not really:
Because they aren’t staying.

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Rita Quillen’s latest poetry collection, The Mad Farmer’s Wife, is forthcoming in fall 2016 from Texas Review Press. Quillen is the author of the novel Hiding Ezra, the chapbook Something Solid To Anchor To, the poetry collections Her Secret Dream, October Dusk, and Counting the Sums, and an essay collection Looking for Native Ground: Contemporary Appalachian Poetry. She lives and farms on Early Autumn Farm in Scott County, Virginia.

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