It’s National Poetry Month and here is one of my story poems to celebrate words and the images they create. Just to fill you in, Babcia is the Polish word for Grandmother and Zed and Reid are my brothers.
Five Finger Exercise
Roast pork Sunday dinner. Babcia hems skirts, replaces buttons. Speaking in broken English implores us to eat one more bite. Sings skinny no good, plumpy is healthy. Warns of the wolf in the pump house who feeds on underfed children.
Thanksgiving in New Jersey. Smoke stacks belching blueblack vapor. Hateful boy cousins tease, torment, look up my skirt. My uncle shows me middle C.
A black baby grand. Glossy red John Thompson books. A metronome beating the air. Mrs. Miller sits too close, pushes and prods. I try to keep up, forgetting lines in a recital.
My brother Zed squeezes his accordion, seeking approval. Eyes bandaged, we feed him canned yellow peaches, calling them slimy goldfish, raw eggs to be swallowed whole.
Winter blows an icy dirge. My father fumbling farewells but honestly trying, asks Reid to build him a plain pine box.
I will be away for a week. This time to visit my daughter and grandkids, spend time with a dear friend and to go on retreat for a couple of days. My sweet man will stay home to hold down the fort, keep the dogs company and water the garden.
We had our first lettuce of the season a few days ago, the carrots are just beginning to show tiny green sprouts in their dark, rich soil and broccoli and spinach will be ready for the table in about a month.
When I return, I’ll plant more words right here. Have a wonderful week!