Our 3-Ring Kitchen by Jessica D. Thompson

Our 3-Ring Kitchen

mother did the laundry
in our eat-in kitchen

like a trained circus animal
the wringer-washer

sat in a corner
waiting to be led

to the arena
linoleum patchwork

of green and white squares
marked with trails

from years of migrations
to a porcelain sink

the rubber hose
a curious trunk

this was the room
where my sister would sit

alone long after
the dishes were done

like a feral girl
refusing to eat

everything on her plate
her bible-black eyes

a flashing stampede
toward the ring leader

who ruled
from the head of our table


Jessica D. Thompson’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Appalachian Review, Still: the Journal, the Midwest Quarterly, Atlanta Review, and the Southern Review as well as in anthologies such as “Women Speak, Vol. 7,” Sheila-Na-Gig Editions. One of her short poems was nominated for a Rhysling Award in 2007. Her chapbook, “Bullets and Blank Bibles,” (Liquid Paper Press) was published by Nerve Cowboy in 2013. She was a finalist in the Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize (Heartland Review) in 2012 and 2022. Her first full length poetry collection, “Daybreak and Deep,” (Kelsay Books, 2022), was a finalist in the American Book Fest Best Books of 2022 for Narrative Poetry. She lives with her husband, Phil, and their rescue dog, Gloria, on 25 acres in Southern Indiana.