Found in the wooden recipe box, Sue Chenette

Michael Diehl, Birds



Found in the wooden recipe box


Adelaide’s Lemon Pie      from Sister’s
     grated rind    1 lemon   . . .

                                                  oh! sweet-sour bright
on the tongue, and so light, like its colour
pale yellow colour of melting taste

             in my mother’s backhand      lineage
       on a lined card     flavour
tabled in childhood’s kitchen     tart leap

                                        how we are
startled back to ourselves         
puzzle piece      brightened gather
once-worn time    
this card’s sheen, seen —
once seen, will fade
the Apple Cake, with torn corner,
for another day)     

                          our shifting
                dissolving            re-
appearing lights  
                               or garments 
                                                     put on
this matrilineal garb today,
aprons and ovens, sun through philodendron round a window,
shoelace cord for the ceiling light,
lace tablecloth for a party
                                           the patron saints of kitchen,
cooks, housewives, bakers, Saint Martha,
wearing my grandmother’s rickrack-trimmed apron,
to the pilot light of my mother’s quirky oven

Sue Chenette


Review by Dave Mehler

I love how this poet, as well as others I have admired, can find significance and call forth poetry from the most mundane subject matter, as in this set, a trio of domestic issues such as laundry, kitchen counters and a recipe box, but transcending that through the utilization of language and diving deeper below the surface of things. In this poem it’s to remember all the family that created those recipes and served others in the making of delicious food at the heart of a home. 

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