Death Salad
    Kathleen Aguero

"You made your bed, now lie in it," a strange saying, I claimed, since you usually make the bed after you're done lying in it. "No, you dress the bed," my friend Carol told me. We mocked each other's accents — me from Long Island, she from Boston, both brought to the north Jersey suburbs for the good life. We read the same books over and over waiting for our breasts to grow and then her father died which made her strange to me. Did I seem cold? I was only ignorant and awed. She appeared touched by mystery, set apart. She'd become so tall and so good, taking her mother's arm each Sunday after Mass while the rest of us raced to our cars.

The day after Carol's father died, my mother sent me to visit, and I tasted the first really good potato salad of my life. It had olives in it and pickles. It taught me all the things a potato salad can hold. We liked that potato salad, Carol and I, but it was death salad brought over by neighbors because of her father. We sat in her living room and ate it together. Then we weren't best friends anymore.

Kathleen Aguero is the author of two volumes of poetry, The Real Weather (Hanging Loose Press) and Thirsty Day (Alice James Books), and co-editor of three collections of multi-cultural literature: A Gift of Tongues, An Ear to the Ground and Daily Fare (University of Georgia Press). Her new manuscript, Sister/Legend, has been a finalist for the T.S. Eliot Award, the May Swenson Poetry Award, and the New Issues Press Green Rose Series, among others. She is a Professor of English at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA.


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