The Unreliable Narrator

she’s chasing me around the dining-room table    exhausting me
in ways only a two-year-old could    by non-stop repetition    the
same groove again & again    & I ply her with a game of words
with the sole noun in my sightline    pineapple! pineapple!
I shout    waving an invisible white flag    & it works for she
stops to follow the sound    of my voice

from the tabletop I lower the pineapple to her level    hold it by
the belly for her to pet    & she pat-pats    but her fingers can’t
translate the prickly crown    the crocodile bumps    knowing
only the fruit’s sunny pulp    & I realize she’s imagining core
with no notion of periphery    in full possession of the cloister but
not yet the garden quest

she perseveres    sniffing one end then the other    her sense of
smell confounding    her sense of sight    introducing doubt    for
the pineapple is overripe    its scent a    concentrate    smelling
more like itself than it should    a familiar friend yet not
pineapple? I ask & she nods yes    but wary    like any novitiate
parroting to please    but not quite believing

Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska. She is an assistant editor at The Centrifugal Eye. Her prose and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bookends Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Gone Lawn, Humber Pie (UK), Lily, The Meadowland Review, Rufous City Review, Stone Highway Review, Terrain.org and Wild Orphan (UK).