Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Kitchen

Two faucets, one dry, for as long as I can remember
One leaking, tediously weeping

Lemon soap, that artificial yellow,
(That kind that supplied a tremendous collection of bubbles)
Those soft white friends that stung my eyes and got me in trouble
And I remember the steel wool by the sink, because touching it made my teeth hurt

Water-spotted windows: the first portal for light, of three
next the dark-caramel colored glass above the stove
Then light would slip out the back, through a sliding door

I can track the passage of time by my view of that kitchen,
First hardly a kitchen at all, only parent legs and dirty white tiles, a dusty air vent
Then the cupboards, sink, holy countertops and the fridge –
What power I felt in moving that heavy, humming gate

Soggy, wood cutting corner and cracking, peeling wood under windows
Wooden accordion-door dividing the kitchen and dining room
Forever making messy music as tiny ones run in and out and in and out and –

It seems small now, but it used to be enough room for a racetrack
(A laundry-basket racetrack)
With a carpet finish-line at the start of the family room
The louder the cartoons got the closer you were to winning

I remember the small stove, with 4 metal burners that curled up like copper snakes
This is the source of hot Kraft lunches, those perfect golden noodles
This was a rich and powerful room, a lovely and full of magic room

With always enough, and a stunning and glorious mess
It always baffled me that mom said it was “too small”

She said it was “crumby” and “trashy” and “tired” and
Then we left,

And when we left I felt I lost something in that strange and perfect kitchen.

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