Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Meeting Margie

22 July 2009

Her name on his lips brings a smile

and memories, laughter. She still lives

because he remembers her. I come to know

the woman she was through stories told

around the table and the view

through the window overlooking

a field where the milking barn used to be

before she died, before the farm was rented out,

before they sold the cows, and the silo for scrap,

when the boy who would grow to be my husband

called this place home, milked cows, played

and worked in the hay barn and caught fireflies

under her swath of New Jersey sky.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


5 July 2009

Bernice Imogene Pope

Now and again I get back

a part of myself. A cobbler brings me

face to face with my grandmother

and the dewberry bushes that grew

at the back fence in Victoria, south Texas

when I was younger than my little ones.

She picked them thinking of me--

no one loved those berries quite as much as I--

and she pummeled them through

a v-shaped colander so only the sweet

juice was covered by a rich cobbler crust.

The pan is two feet across,

the crust golden, the berries

sweeter than they’ve ever been since

in my memory.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Making Salteñas

1 July 2009

There's something real about working
flour with naked hands--
more sensitive than any pastry knife, my fingers
blend more naturally than stainless steel.
Water and flour become cool,
pliant dough against my skin.
Given my mother's unused kitchen,
we could have mixed the dough in half the time,
reduced the strengthening on our forearms,
the time spent learning where my sister-in-law
learned to make salteñas and empanadas.
We laid a foundation
and I asked where the napkins were kept:

"En la puerta."
"...the door? In the door? Oh, the Pantry!"
"Si! En la puerta."
"...Where? Donde?"
"A-BA-jo..." A slight nod toward the floor
"OH! Abajo!"

She opened la puerta to the language of her heart,
and all because we took the long way around.

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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