monday, monday, monday

Sighs, shallow breaths. Water, rushing. Mama in the kitchen, meat-pies cooking. My brother and I, hungry-boned boys, plot an invasion. Sneaker-feet-sneaking, up under the stove. She sees us, says shoo. Smiles, sighs. Her empty-cabinet-heart is in the sink, for washing. Later.

Mom comes home, huge orange bags the earth to her Atlas. Mama’s frame. Her shadow superimposed on the door, her hand, held out. Soon, Mom is shooed, too, Mama’s sovereignty restored. She makes supper, humming.

Monday Monday Monday, willow willow world. Return to me, my Monday, my lovely, willow-girl.

Soup’s for supper, served as Mama moves; she won’t sit down. The kitchen calls for kindness to old, cantankerous pots. Ever vassal to cookware, she goes back. Washes until her hands wrinkle and prune.

Sighs, shallow breaths. Water, whirring. She uses the machine, for once. Mom insists before she’s shooed again. She goes back in, empties her earth, fills up Mama’s heart with groceries.

I remember the baby shower. Mama in the kitchen; long hours, good cooking. My brother and I, pilfering pizzelles off the pan. Mom, a pregnant and sequestered princess. The guests, besieging the castle of our home, surrounding Mom.

Mama in the kitchen. Dishes haloing. Waitressly angelic, she serves. Guests groan praise. My brother and I, and sister and Mom. And Mama’s kitchen door-frame, behind us.

My sister was born just after July. Our only summer sibling. My brother and I: March, September.

When Mama’s papa died people came, too. Aunts, uncles, armies of the unfamiliar. Mama on the couch, Mama crying. Mom, our Atlas, apron on. Mama kept out of the kitchen. For the next months, soups laced with melanchol.

Mom’s frame in the door, unfamiliar. She pushes Mama into her seat, tells her to stay. Mama looks in at her cooking, longing. We mourn a week until the axis rights. Mama cooks again, calm, grief an undercurrent.

Her brother comes by, brings cranberry bars. He’s barred from the kitchen, Mom says, ‘cause an accident. Long time since, but Mama remembers.

Mama in the kitchen, grief superimposed, heart in the sink. Later. Old pots, no comforts. My brother and I try to slink in. She lets us, holds onto our arms. Mama in the kitchen, crying.

She would have stayed in there, not gone to the service. Her brother came by. She throws into the casket a wooden spoon.

Years, years. Mama in the kitchen; my brother and I.

Long after late, Mama shuts the light. She kisses the pots with her fingertips. Mama’s frame; the door-frame. Mama in the kitchen, all shadow, all sigh, all shallow, no sun.