Monday, October 23, 2006

Mistress of Meals

23 October 2006, 7:47 PM
for Bernice

I’d forgotten
the smell of Bisquick and 2%
at 5:30 in the morning.

I always thought the crack of dawn
darkness was compulsory,
as grandmother moved about
a kitchen she knew like her own
floury hand (she didn’t need much light)
pressing dough on a pale yellow,
floury formica countertop.

I was always the early riser
in my family- the one up at sunrise
when I could’ve slept ‘til noon. I woke
with the first sign of movement
in that homely room which stood
adjacent to the den. Bob Barker
was hours away, but granddad’s
sausage-grease eggs were well on their way
as I perched atop a bar stool,
eagerly awaiting my portion
of the dough. I made child-sized biscuits
and handed them over
to the mistress of early morning meals.

For all I knew back then, she was
the mistress of every meal.
I couldn’t wait for breakfast, lunch,
dinner at her house- each seemed grand
to a blonde-haired, green eyed,
sleepy little five-year-old girl
whose grandparents were her world
during those short visits
to their south Texas home.

Little did I know the woman
made everything with Bisquick.
The moist and savory smell of such
will always bring her back to mind,
more so even than the mention
of that dewberry cobbler I loved so much.
I could never manage to obtain her recipe:
“A little flour, a little milk, a little leaven…”

Mystery solved. Bisquick,
though I never did ascertain
before the bush in her backyard died,
exactly what constitutes a dewberry.

I had not pegged her as coy.
It appears I have a great deal
to learn about my grandmother.

Much to learn, and precious little
time in which to learn it. Scarce
the opportunities to sit upon that stool
these days. I am so very far away
from who and where I was back then.

I remembered her tonight, preparing
dinner. Mixing Bisquick and 2%,
that unmistakable scent aroused
longing for moments long since passed.
I called my little boy from his room,
floured the kitchen table,
and he perched atop the dining chair,
eagerly awaiting his portion
of the dough.. He made child-sized biscuits
and handed them over
to the mistress of early evening meals.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


21 October 2006, 11:42 PM
Anniversary of Maria Vesper's death

I walked the course with Leslie
and talked about a lot of things today,
never wondering beyond my vision’s reach,
soaking up the rays and the faithful
friendship that only time can teach;
never once concerned with what I’d do
when I got home. I was content
to be with her and then to be alone.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Northerly Wind

16 October 2006, 10:59 PM

There’s an awful lot of dialogue, waiting
for my hair to grow, waiting
for falling snow in September.

It’s October now- the snow is closer
than it was. But I’ve been waiting
for a month or longer- since the Spring,
if I’m honest. I’ve been waiting
since the flurries ceased to fall last year-
waiting with many a sigh and silver tear.

There’s not much happiness
in waiting. I find sadness, solitude,
sometimes silliness, though not much
joy. I’m just tired, and eager for the wind
to change. So strange that I should
long again for home the way it was-
the way it killed me from the inside out,
unrelentingly and without apology.

The nights are harder than the days
sometimes. I think I’ll never see the end
of my own wants, my own thoughts beaten
bloody by the too long Northerly Wind.

I had come to see in her a friend.
I’d say she’ll find vindication in the end,
revealed for what she is: mighty
river bellowing against tender reeds,
teaching them to stand up strong and tall
against her gracious, brutal current.

I wonder, should she ever cease to flow,
if the rushes then will know how to stand
with nothing left to brace themselves against.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

That's My Kid

14 October 2006, 10:50 AM

If you'd told me ten years ago I'd be
a soccer mom today, complete with minivan,
extra coats and snacks-in-tow-

I suppose far-fetched is an overstatement.
I'd have believed you.

What I didn't count on was the sense of pride
and joy at watching the little ones-

GOAL!!! Way to go Isaiah!

That's my kid- my kid made a goal!
It's a shame his father wasn't here to see
another first. Ah well, there'll always be
the second, perhaps even before next season-


My GOD, THAT was my kid too! Did you SEE that?
That was my KID- MERCY, but he's good at this!
Why am I surprised? The little ones don't know
they can't- they only know they'll try.

GOAL!!! Good job, Kelly!

Their delight outstrips my own by far, perhaps
because their joy is by doubt unadulterated-
they do not know ambition nor self-conscious
anxiety as big folks more often do than not.

GOAL!!! Way to put it in, Quin!

Neither do they know the rules of the game,
but sakes alive, they surely know to play!


My back was turned- I didn't see the shot,
but the aftermath is unmistakable- someone scored.
High-fives all around, and victory goes to the Storm.

My little one, from allstar transformed
to weepy puddle of hunger and exhaustion,
and I apologize to coach for his off-the-field
attitude toward the game. Coach smiles,
assures me that he earned his keep.
He plays hard, and one can hardly fault
the kid who scored three goals for the team.
Three? Three goals, coach? Are you sure?

That last one I missed- my kid made that shot.
Did you see it? That was my kid.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

KY 169

4 October 2006, 7:15 AM

Kentucky is beautiful to me,
especially when I find myself
her only witness, or one among few,
as the foaling barns and mowing sheds
are lit with a warmth that only comes
from an up-before-dawn vigilance
to the privilege of caring for the earth
and her children.

Misty not-quite-morning rests
lazily, enshrouding rusty remains
of tractors long since left to pasture,
silhouetted against a morning slow to rise-
he hovers lightly, loathe to leave
his originate earth, this blue-green cradle,
soon to be his resting place again.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


3 October 2006, 8:12 PM

Earrings, skirts, blouses,
and scarves- don't forget the scarves.
Outward, visible signs of an inward, spiritual
confusion of what ought to go without saying.

Ontology is anything but granted.
We are so satisfied with the brand of reality
we assume. So many things
are not the way they are but for the blood,
sweat and tears of someone who toiled
or didn't
in order that another might walk any given path,

and I know this.

So many have not found an existential groove
save earrings, skirts and blouses. These
I do not take for granted, choosing
each so particularly every chance I get,
satisfied in the knowledge
that if one wants to see,
(and most do not)
all he has to do is look.

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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