Toes have lost all feeling.
Trigger finger feigns sleep
as night approaches for
the fourteenth time.
Wait for something new.
A stir under a bush,
light in a wet jungle
unwilling to relinquish
hidden eyes revealed.
A faraway cough
threatens my dreams
of playgrounds and
A flash of fire
disrupts the cloud of
greenfinches bedding down.
All Hell awakens.
So simple the design of a drawer,
pull and push, search for something lost,
a ribbon, a jar of ground cloves,
zebra-striped pasta long and narrow,
a green marbled heart meant to
give away, but kept.
Drawers contain books to read, journals
to write, secrets to hide or discover,
an entire family history stored for
at least a decade or more waiting
to hand down to the next generation.
The empty one my least favorite, second drawer
of the tall dresser, the one he used to fill
with socks. Now barren, the drawer’s
cedar wood frame houses a familiar scent
that lingers so I won’t forget.
I remember the 13 x 9 x 2 aluminum version
Carving out perfect brownies for a crowd
Or the glass model 8 x 6 x 2, the smaller size
For the rare few who stayed up late
I remember baked-on grease forever embedded
Into the fabric of the pans, creating their own
Modern artwork in a chaotic kitchen
The result of motherhood gone awry
Baking meant sustenance, but more than that
It revealed ingenious fortitude, cleverness and pride
Combined with creativity that surpassed all else
I remember that creativity, that strength
And I remember the love that went into each egg
Fried into a perfectly shaped circle inside a slice of bread
A circle that we called breakfast, along with crisp bacon
And always a glass of whole milk or juice, our choice
I remember taking turns at the bar, slipping onto a warm stool
In front of a previously occupied plate still wet with yellow yolk
That she shoved aside to replace with a new, warm toad
One that would be consumed in time to catch a school bus
I remember the burnt days, too, clouded with emotion
Fervent spirit doused for an hour or two, yet
Toad-in-a-hole breakfasts kept flying out of her kitchen
Into our hearts and souls, all four of us children
I remember her pans as I retrieve my own small one
From the dishwasher, not as clean as I would like
The glass still living with some of last night’s meal
My carelessness, the wrong machine setting
I remember we had no dishwasher then, a luxury,
Washed by hand, each greasy skillet or brownie pan
Thus why the grease remained, no doubt, what strength
Do children have to scrub away the toughest stains?
Tools at my disposal, I begin to work, fingers dry and sore
From steel wool combined with cleaning powder that
Lasts as long as I do to see every last speck of memory stain
Removed forever, or until the next chicken Marsala bakes