whats for dinner

lying on the old sofa in the screened porch

my view is of the tree tops

bold black strokes of a calligraphers pen

drawing thick trunks and long limbs

across a carolina blue sky

filled in with sponged leaf and green buds

interrupted by fat chenille bumbles bouncing

against the screen

and the fussing of wren parents going on about whose turn it is

to feed the hungry littles

soft spring breezes from an april I’ve never lived

in my previous lives rocks me gently in this spacious afternoon

but now its five o’clock and the rumble of a late day train

shakes me from this reverie as the small dog tunes

to the trains whistling call

and I rise to rummage through the pantry

for the makings of the evening dinner

bread dough

I was raised in a series of kitchens

the first small

where the wall color would change

on whim and boredom

with a screen door pushed through

by a bird dog’s head

who would whine for leavings

at the babies table

the second

within tang of the paper mill

and fragrant of biscuits

vinegar beans and ham

where coffee was strong but mellowed by cream

and heaping spoonfuls of sugar

the third

tall ceilinged and linoleumed

holding sweating green glass jars filled with crescent melon moons

with a pantry bearing big reds

and red ants

that poured from the cereal box

fourth a kitchen

of koolaid and party fare

where the liquor cabinet was well stocked

and well used

and the floor, cork and scuffed

hard by mary janes and chasing dogs

next

open and old

where a chicken would lay

her egg on the window sill

and peck her greeting each morning

and the floored rolled down hill

then

a kitchen made of sticks

gathered from a pack rats horde

painted hunter green

with windows where the lame doe

would peer nightly

big eyed

now

a kitchen of wandering light

and walls of pear and faded aquamarine

where at last

it is the last

to see dough rise in the morning

with the sun

and joy with the moon rise

at night

forgive us our debts

I read your words and weep.

holding your hands, I pray with you

and the blue shawled woman in the New York pew

then I am standing in that California highway where bodies

litter the road

saying goodbye to hope and freedom

we are all guilty of so many little sins

sins of careless words, careless actions

sins we all commit in each breath or bite

of fruit picked by bodies and souls

we are happy to ignore

as we pass the strawberries at breakfast

laws of physics and other fairy tales

its no wonder physics is rattled

time has taken a holiday

and with it gravity

energy and motion have increased

and decreased

at the same moment

but see how the sun strides across the advent room

in early morning splendor

shining gold against walls

of pear and faded aquamarine

Breaking News: Evidence is mounting that a tiny subatomic particle is being influenced by forms of matter and energy that are not yet known to science but which may nevertheless affect the nature and evolution of the universe. New York Times

parable

dreams are given to us for a reason

but for what reason do I dream of that worst day with her

finding her covered in filth and weakness

and sadness at the state of the world

then the panic

I felt that heat filled panic in the dream

of wanting to run fast across the water until I find a hollow place to hide

but I woke and reminded myself that I steadied my voice

and gently washed her body

and cleaned her bed

And together we cried

and forgave God for teaching us these parables

of love and ashes

dominos

a door opened to the past

bringing the scent of White Shoulders

and honeysuckle soap from lives lived a long time ago

memories sweet as perfume are all I keep

tucked into linen handkerchiefs edged in lace

I no longer open the door to sadness

or welcome grief when it comes to call

Instead, I send them off with stories of Grandmere’s buttermilk biscuits

Mamma’s stirrup cake covered in hot fudge

and laughter at the snap of dominos on the dining room table.