Tonight Max came to the dinner table.
It is the first time and he is a little bird perched and watching everything. We are eating noodles and vegetables, prepared by the youngest aunt who is glum and disappointed. Max watches everything. It is loud and hot inside, the fire is roaring and there are sticks and gum leaves scattered across the floor.
The table is chaotic. Max looks carefully across and though glass and plate, noodles and vegetables, baby bottles, pencils, bowls, envelopes, the shining cutlery, a water jug, school papers and disagreements.
He watches his mother eat, he watches, in love, her mouth, he reaches and reaches for the fork, but he mustn’t have it. He reaches for noodles, his mouth moves, he imitates his mother, he allows saliva to fall. He is entangled in eating and voices and gestures.
The youngest aunts have begun an argument; they accuse each other of being freaks and of life wrecking. Max watches calmly, he is impressed by voices and the rainbows of dispute.
Max’s grandfather eats at an alarming rate; he is going back out to the shed to bring back a beer, a home brew that is disgusting.
I am watching Max absorb the evening, I wonder what he wonders. A glass of water is overturned, a fork drops, conversation falls and lifts and falls.
He is lifted onto his mother’s shoulder and is moving away to bed, he is still looking at all of us and he is smiling, he has one triumphant fist raised in the air.