Maureen Sherbondy

Wrong House

A baby fell from the sky and landed in the wrong house. This was the home of a musically talented family. His mother played violin, his father played bass, and the two sisters played flute and guitar.

Baby boy was named Jazzy Johnny. The musical family waited for Jazzy Johnny to display the aptitude and love for music that they all had. Bass dad handed Jazzy Johnny drum sticks for his third birthday. Johnny climbed up the counter and hit the ball of dough his mom had left rising beneath a cloth.

“No, like this,” his dad said. He banged the sticks on the kitchen table in a rhythmic pattern to demonstrate.

Johnny grabbed the sticks back and yelled, “Food.”

Puzzled, the family watched as Johnny used the sticks to roll out cookie dough, then used them to mix his first bowl of cake batter.

When the musical family played their first gig at a local musical festival, Johnny wore noise-canceling headphones to block out the sound. He slipped into an outdoor food truck and watched the cooks making chalupas, tacos, and burritos.

Feeling like an outsider, he eventually ran away and attended culinary school.

Another baby, Charlie, who had been dropped in a different wrong house used rolling pins to play music. At five, he emptied out Coke bottles so he could blow inside the glass and make wind instrument sounds. All the while, his culinary family tried to teach Charlie to bake fancy pastries, to cook duck and hen. Charlie couldn’t even make a grilled cheese sandwich, nor did he ever desire to do so. He sat up in his bed at night banging two metal garbage lids together and looking out the window at other houses, knowing something had gone very wrong.

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Maureen SherbondyMaureen Sherbondy’s work has appeared in Wigleaf, Cortland Review, Southeast Review, and other journals. She has published four full-length poetry collections. Dancing with Dali is forthcoming in 2020 from FutureCycle Books. She lives in Durham, North Carolina.

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