Spring 2024

First Date

By Kelly Nelson

Pita torn into ragged half moons.
Hummus and baba ghanoush. I tell him,
“Two sisters, no brothers,” thumb the hem
of the napkin on my lap. How easily

I lie. A family—bright wrapped boxes,
head-thrown-back laughter—disappears
into a curtained-off room. Lamb kebabs
for him, fattoush, no olives, for me.

It will be three months tomorrow since my brother
bought a gun, hours before using it.
He seems nice, seems interested, baklava
on one plate with two forks. “The best scene,”

he says, “is when Gregory Peck remembers.”
“No, the best scene is Bergman walking away.”
No reason he’d read headlines from my hometown.
No reason to pry. Plenty of people don’t have brothers.

“Tea Cups” by Ashley Penning (Vol. 35.1)

Kelly Nelson is a writer and artist living in Phoenix. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, sings in a women’s a cappella group, and teaches Integrative Studies at Arizona State University.

Spring 2024