Breakfast, for three. One mom. One dad. One baby.
Three plates. Three cups – two coffee, one juice. Three forks on three napkins. Three minute eggs. Triangles of toast.
Dad is late. Three minutes. He sits at the table. Pats baby on head. Eats. Speaks.
Three words: “Time to go.”
Lunch for two. One mom. One baby.
Two bowls. Two glasses – one iced tea, one sippy. Two spoons on two napkins. Double noodle chicken soup. Twice-baked biscuits.
Mom calls Dad. No answer. Dad calls back.
Two words: “Late tonight.”
Dinner, for one. One mom.
One glass of wine.
One exercise routine.
One movie on demand.
One side of the bed.
Mom writes text to Dad – many words.
Mom hears baby cry. Mom checks on one-year-old. Mom thinks of one income. One parent.
Mom writes new text.
One word: “Goodnight.”
COUNTDOWN was published in April 2013, in an article celebrating National Poetry Month and highlighting a new open mic series offered by the Newark Arts Alliance. Delaware’s Poet Laureate JoAnn Balingit devoted her column in the News Journal to Newark Open Mic.