|by Scot Siegel|
“How can the poem and the stink
and the grating noise – the quality of light,
the tone, the habit and the dream – be set down alive?”
Cannery Row, John Steinbeck
Where kisses are given
and kisses received,
the charted course of
coffee and the smell
of jasmine outside
sweet as gold.
This kitchen is community.
It is healing, olives and bread.
It is the evening wine, reflection
of damp and generous faces
in a window masked by
the steam of warm water. Slate
on the floor invites mops and socks,
the slight trace of lemon. This kitchen
is an oil drum playing Calypso beats,
a feral, fertile field swaying with
the clamor of the gas stove’s
Its inhabitants are hard workers
and hard lovers, a child
who thinks he’s an adult and adults
who wish to be children. It is
a blessed, bright, spicy-warm room,
a nurturing sentinel, like
skin touching skin.
Standing back to back
in the narrow galley, the slight
swell of bodies brushing
holds the promise that when
it’s dark there will be sweets.
Making chiffonades of basil
to grace the salad, the love
is spoken as well as made,
and perhaps that might be
the way to define, and write,
the stories of this loving family.
Our Grandson Seeks Respite from Humidity
He is ours because I claim him.
We have different storms here,
they will not disturb his sleep.
Only the mildest of thunder
and lightning will glimmer
against his paper-thin eyelids
and superhero dreams.
Ours is the hearth that will keep
him soothed. The only bandana
he will wear is when playing
pirates, it will not be soaked
in ice-water or sweat, just
little-boy imagination and story.
We will love him and keep him safe.
We will love him as we love each other,
our reach expanding to include him
and all his wishes. The moth flies to
the light; we gently extinguish
that light; we gently pinch quiet
that light, and bring him to us with music.
It started yesterday
moss weeping green
curled around viney fingerstumps
crackling like fat on the grill
rain a deep percussion in sky’s orchestra
seizure of drops on leaf, hot pink wall roughs
microscoped blades bend to the will of
insects dancing briefly along their path
wet clings like remembered dreams
Tobi Cogswell is a two-time Pushcart nominee. She has been published nationally and internationally. She has four chapbooks and her full-length poetry collection Poste Restante is available from Bellowing Ark Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.sprreview.com).