Cooking when you are anxious
Is a recipe for failure
I have proof in my oven
Right this minute and
Don’t want to peer another second
Through the oven window
At the spreading pool of batter
Dripping onto the oven floor
With a sizzle.
I have made biscotti a million times
Without much trouble
Sometimes the almonds weren’t chopped fine enough
Or the logs were misshapen
But those were minor difficulties
Today is different
I was nervy about a big family visit
Rehearsing comments in my head for a meeting tonight
Worrying about a late package
So maybe I added too much maple syrup and butter
Maybe not enough flour
Perhaps I accidentally invited a malevolent spirit into my kitchen
Actually I think that’s it.
My father-in-law shot himself
I wasn’t right there
Just in the same town
He left a business-like note
Covered the basement floor with a plastic sheet
Stood in the center
My husband found him
When he went for a visit after work.
Really you do not want to go downstairs
And discover old dad
With blood and brains dashed around
Even if it’s mostly on a plastic sheet.
You will never catch me being so thoughtless
I would make sure the cat finds me first.
I was hallowed by heat, can’t beat
that lustful desire to swallow love whole
feed me more, I implore
a glutton knows no less, but
let it be a lesson to you
there is no forgiveness
greed comes from flagrant need
fragrant speed of more, you bleeding whore
and speaking of sloth
lazy sloth is what i called him
in wrath, because i saw red, and blue, and yellow
i don’t envy his wife, jealous as i am
just take a knife to his throat, jam to his heart
of which i am proud to be a part
loudly crowing my success.
This is what I am, what I want
bird bones and
the calling of wrens
swinging wild in the storm
filled with crows.
When mourners come
singing their sorrow
I sing back
wind whistling through the teeth of my shrine.
It’s coming down hard
After two weeks of dry scraping weather where
Grass turned to wheat stalks
Flowers toppled with thirst and
Even the weeds looked bad.
Today rain daps and ripples the lake
Plays fast taps on the porch roof
Started down south as a hurricane
Ran out of gas here
Tamed by the mountains and trees
Soaking into the ground
Making the grass turn from brown
Like a fucking miracle.
Every fall hunters come to shoot ducks
The hunters set up little houses on the lake
Supposed to look like flotsam
Random confluences of twigs and brambles through which
They stick the ends of their rifles
The ducks ignore these deadly huts
Flock and frolic among the floating decoys
Dipping their heads underwater
From time to time
Until there is a bang
You wouldn’t believe how loud gunshots sound over the water
And all the survivors fly away in a noisy beat of wings.
I look at the carnage through binoculars
See the hunters leave their hidey-holes
Row around picking up dead duck carcasses
And wooden facsimiles.
Hidden behind my window I hiss angrily.
vultures have a bad name
carrion eaters, scavengers and so on
my mother-in-law with dementia used to say
and so on
when she could not remember something
or articulate details
and needed you to fill in the blanks
she’d say I think have a son
Look blank and then say
And so on.
I see vultures, the Vermont kind
flying overhead looking for dead things
abandoned corpses of fish or rabbits
they wheel and swoop between the clouds
with their macabre version of an eagle eye
and when they see something they spiral to the ground
sometimes a wake of vultures land
all at once
and so on.
There is nothing better than
A good dog, a fat cat and a baby
I didn’t find out until lately
That you could have all three
At the same time
Now I am contemplating adding
A guinea pig.
I made my husband
Prove his love
In a million ways
It is fine with me if you have sex with someone
A very good idea, I insisted
Then I left him alone with a woman
Who he proceeded to sleep with.
When I screamed bloody murder
He was bewildered
Said you told me to do it
Yes I agreed
It was the only way to discover what was in your heart.
But over the years I have changed
I don’t test my husband’s love any more
And I no longer want to see into anyone’s heart
It’s enough for me
If they talk a good game.
I woke up one day scared
Here I am, old lady
End of a dirt road
Don’t know karate
Kitchen knives are dull
Neighbor is deaf
Cat is a coward
So I said to my husband
I want a gun
I bought a small black pistol
We went to the range
I shot my gun until I
Hit the target
Pretty well, call it a cluster
I call it a cluster.
I put the gun in my sock drawer.
The cat knows where to find it.