Vassar Student Review

Vassar Student Review

The kitchen’s where I wait for things to happen,
listening to the goings on elsewhere in the house,
pacing along the narrow galley, sometimes stopping
to wash my hands, turning the faucet all the way hot,
and leaning forward over the sink to glimpse out
of the window. Today I’m waiting for one
to speak to another. An intervention of the
pater familias into the changes of my sister’s
character. I’m looking about the room, from
the cabinets to the flagstone floor, and I’m seeing
tiny moments frozen like the ice cubes in the freezer,
perfectly contented in their dormant state, but lost
forever to the heat of further inspection.
On recent nights, my mother and I congregate here,
flipping through a miniature box of little cards with
tiny printed recipes. It’s like I’m a permanent fixture
at the stove, wedged in the corner, against the counter,
stirring something and listening to my mother speak.
I’m 18 and sometimes my mother confides in me
like I was 53. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but I see
her disdain for many little things, things I couldn’t see
when I was 3 or 10 or even 16. We take turns with things
we hate to see in the house, as we shift
the pages of the cabbage recipe, like a daughter and
a sister, drawing further from home while eating
the dinner we had cooked. Once as we spoke, I knocked
over the pepper shaker and it lay glimmering
like a night sky on the floor. I retrieved the broom and knelt
on the stone, sweeping a million broken stars up
from the cold, jet blue floor.
The kitchen is where I wait for things to happen,
since I’ve had such luck catching moments there before.
Today I’m waiting for the tiny shards of a new moment
to skate across the flagstone, so that I may pick them up
and save them on the bottom shelf of the freezer,
sleeping in an ice cube tray.

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