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

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