I am not this table, old, handmade
one stubborn leg refastened
over and over, nails jutting out
in strange directions.
I am not its claw feet, the scars
infesting its flat. Nor am I layer
upon layer, a lasagna of thick paint
and stain. I am not color over color.
I was never my grandmother’s least favorite
piece of furniture. Never an antique accepted
begrudgingly from her hoarder stepfather.
I was never bought at auction to try and please her.
I have never spent forty years in a basement.
I am virgin to Michigan rummy, to Euchre,
to cards laid across my surface, to gin
and tonic rings that seep
through red checked tablecloths.
Nobody ever marked me like that.
I am not this table, but see
how I pour the chemical
thickly, see how I scrape
my spatula hard
across its surface,
how I leave gouges.
See my panic, fervor, to know
what it looks like, naked
of this brown putty.
Lauren Boulton holds an MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University and works as a technical writer for Johnson-Rauhoff. Her work has recently appeared in Minnesota Review, Booth, Paper Nautilus, and others.