Volume 10, Issue 1
ANNE BRITTING OLESON
She finds her mother's cursive,
looping inside the cover
of Anybody Can Cook,
setting forth the ingredients
for a paintbrush cleaner,
fighting a left-handed lean
with big circles the way
a 1940s student would learn.
Further into the cookbook,
her older sister's squarer hand
instructs what to do
when there's no square
of baking chocolate
for Christmas cookies:
one tablespoon extra butter
to every four of cocoa.
This makes her surprisingly sad,
the swirls of ink against
the yellowed pages: she'd know
those hands anywhere,
recognizes them over time and distance,
but at the words,
she has to stop, has to think,
and it's futile, because
the words are there, but the voices gone.
And these are my dreams:
to wake, every new morning, to
the songs of robins and chipping sparrows.
To hear, in that dawn cacophony,
the words my pen will write
before that first cup of tea.
To order my day with work
and walks beside the sea
where the tide's sussurration
will sooth my rough edges.
To be fit company, on my return,
for you and the hopefulness
of open-throated daffodils in a blue vase
on the table beneath the window.
To find you there, waiting,
singing under your breath.
To find you there, looking up
with that clear smile, real.
A week away in July, and I return to find
the vegetable garden undergoing reclamation,
falling victim to ivy invasions, encroaching crabgrass.
Amongst the litter, the fine-toothed leaves
follow one another up from parched dust, reaching
through the arid days, where
each stalk, firm and unbending,
raises its head as if from sleep
to meet, with its wide red brow,
the blinding gaze of sun.
The vegetables-––cucumbers, tomatoes,
beets, beans and squash-––are beyond
all redemption, while the wild poppies
flower and all else be damned.
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