Today’s writing was composed at the Blue Ridge Arts Council’s Communal Pen workshop. 

My Kitchen

My kitchen has deep roots
grown from the women before me.
My kitchen is from the
Eunice Sands Jones kitchen –
where three meals a day on the farm
were cooked and never
a wayward crumb or utensil out of place.
And always, always
An ice cream sandwich in the freezer
Just for me
Except one time when I didn’t hug
Her hello first.
I never made that mistake again.
My kitchen is from the Georgia Lee Harris Haynes kitchen-
Where I was just as likely to find
A random wooden spool of thread
Or a half-filled book of S&S Green Stamps
Or a stray chess piece or
A spent tube of toothpaste as I was to find a fork
To eat the
Always, always
Five-layer chocolate cake under the silver metal
Cake lid, dented like a Goodwill castoff
Surrounded by empty plates
Sitting in a sea of cake crumbs
Where I secretly picked off only the
Hardened frosting,
Sinking my back teeth into it
To savor its sugary-gritty sweetness,
hear its grinding in my ears.
My kitchen is from the Miriam Ruth Jones Haynes kitchen
seasoned with torn-out recipes from
Southern Living and Good Housekeeping
A mostly-matched set of dishes,
Geometric avocado designs along the plate rims
And an oversized set of wooden salt and pepper
Shakers, the grinding kind
For peppercorns twisted fresh, and
Always, always
Boxes and boxes of breakfast cereal
Not only for breakfast
But also for building a fortress hiding wall
For my growling baby brother
Who sat watch in his high chair
To catch anyone looking in his direction
My kitchen is the Kimberly Lynn Haynes Johnson kitchen-
Adorned with cherished framed handwritten
Recipes from each of my grandmothers
and my own late mother-
A penciled sketch of an old stove I imagine
Looks just like the one from Truman Capote’s
Christmas Memory where he made
Fruitcake with Aunt Sook
And a drawing of a wooden rolling pin I imagine
So many women wanting to use for reasons
Other than rolling pie crusts
through the years
My kitchen has some patterns of order in the chaos and
Always, always
A coffee can because the disposer is broken
And the unexpected beauty of discarded cucumber slices
Squeezed lemon rinds, potato peels, and bites of
Buttered raisin bread that
Survived the dogs, peach pits and
Watermelon seeds creates a layered work of heart
(Like a child’s sand art creation
Before it gets shaken),
Its contents destined
For composting,
Reincarnating for further purpose and surely
Cycling back to the kitchen coffee can again in a future
Generation of food.
My kitchen is a farmhouse recipe, blended and baked
From kitchens before mine, a
Lingering aroma of love that transcends time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: