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My Soul is a Dining Room Table

This author is a recipient

of the Sigma Tau Delta Award

Sigma Tau Delta Awarde

Bella Zopf ('23)

is traditionally a graphic designer who enjoys growing plants, reading her favorite novels, and making prints. Both art and writing have had a large impact on her life and serve as unique outlets for her creativity: art in a visual sense, and written work in an emotional sense. Zopf is currently studying at St. Ambrose University and planning to graduate in Spring 2023 with majors in Graphic Design and Book Arts.


On the once-white carpet underneath the dining room table,

Four small children huddle together in the dark, hushed giggles filling the air.

I wonder where the kids have gone, Mom remarks to the empty room.

On the brothers’ bench at the dining room table,

A young girl swipes a tear from her cheek as ruby red blood blossoms on her knee.

If I pinch the other knee, this one won’t hurt so bad, Dad jokes, trying to make her smile.

On the worn, scarred surface of the dining room table,

The youngest sibling sweeps his arm, a rainbow arc of game pieces clattering to the floor.

What’s going on over there, Mom calls from the couch, drowned out by a chorus of laughter.

On the chairs at opposite ends of the dining room table,

Two teenagers fight the urge to laugh, faces contorting into mock focus.

Why isn’t that homework done yet, Dad huffs as he rounds the corner.

On the mismatched extra chairs pulled up to the dining room table,

Family members fill up every inch of the room, conversations fighting each other for space.

How’s school, honey? When do you graduate? Are you working?

On the moving truck sits an upside-down dining room table,

Pinned tight by a fortress of overflowing bins, no room for six adults to share one last meal.

I think that’s everything, Dad comments as Mom’s eyes begin to glisten.

On the newly-cushioned seats at the dining room table,

Dad traces a small smiley face etched into the surface, its artist long grown.

I think the kids will be home this weekend, Mom offers.

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