Cooking Class, Illinois, Mid 70s
Along her immaculate counter: silo
of red-handled sifter, bright order
of silver spoons, lemon bales of butter
softening in late winter light. In cupboards
her husband the carpenter built, bars
of Baker’s Chocolate, dried figs, quartered
apricots and Mason Jars of brined harvest.
A good cook puts up her hair, wears
apron, stores flour in freezer to keep
Boll Weevils out, uses shells of her egg
as a tool to separate yolk from white.
She also wears dresses, I learned
when, for donning jeans, she informed me
she no longer wished me to babysit. She cited,
over the phone to my mother, the effect
it might have on her son, the kind of wife
he might choose, the man he’d become
as I chased him on my hands and knees round
the living room’s glass table she refused to move
when he was born. He’d learn, she’d said, he’d learn
soon enough, where he stopped and she began.
— Tania Pryputniewicz, from Casual
T. S. Poetry