Saturday morning sunlight slants sideways into the kitchen
of the tidy 2nd floor apartment
in a tired part of New York City
layered between the nondescript dark-haired couple upstairs
and my grandfather the Polish butcher, and his good wife, downstairs
like a sad, suspicious sandwich
A lonely banana rests on the formica table
golden yellow, decorated with a handful of black polka dots
My 4-year-old legs dangle from the silver metal chair
with the sticky blue plastic seat
My father approaches, although I cannot see his face
His stony form wears a clean white t-shirt
which denies relationship to the brown and dark blue ones
that hide the grease of the machine shop
during the week
He holds his steaming coffee, black with sugar,
in a chipped aqua mug, the color of the Caribbean,
which I have never seen
Somehow there is a stumble, a quick movement
and I feel the sting of my flesh
being seared by the scalding liquid
Suddenly I am lifted forcefully onto the ground
The frayed elastic of my red-and-white bunny pajamas is grabbed
the coffee-splashed pants are yanked down around my ankles and
unrolled over my feet like a cigar wrapper
I squirm to cover my nakedness
as I watch the red blisters arise on my left thigh
like a neon sign announcing my disgrace