My house smells of bleach and burnt pancakes.

The sound of my parents screaming at each other

echoes through the off-white halls.


My brother skulks in the corner

Slams his door,

Screams “I hate you!”

My mother opens the fridge and throws its contents

on the floor

My dad sits in his chair and stares at nothing

His fingers pinching the fabric on the pocket of his ripped jeans.

I sit with my back to the wall farthest away from the center of the house, and remind myself how to breathe.

The house looks like any other from the outside,

But the inside keeps no secrets.


The forgotten pancakes still sizzle on the burner

And the kitchen sink drips

As if to accuse us of losing control.


Jan Wienen

Praying ...

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