My kitchen is the soul of my home.
Filled with bodies, dirty dishes, and junk mail,
It is both nourishing and stressful.
The floor sticky, the fridge filled with castoffs from other meals,
The wrinkling grapes past their moment of opportunity,
The milk on the cusp and the oj almost empty.
The eggs organic, the jam all natural sugar.
It is a foundation built on the right and the real.
Something stinks in the garbage and the tower of dishes
In the sink just toppled with an off-balanced glass.
The surfaces all covered in fingerprints, bread crumbs
And last year’s art projects.
My kitchen. The place I love to be and yet
It reminds me of all that I want but don’t seem to
But like the pineapple-upside-down cake, yellow rings still
Stuck to the pan instead of its surface, it’s all okay.
After all, there is comfort in the familiar. Even if
It doesn’t look picture-perfect.
A comfort that doesn’t require perfection, only
The safe warmth of an oven as the bread cools.
Of always finding a place to set another plate,
Of licking off the beaters and full cans of whipped cream.
My kitchen of portent feeds my family
Little bits of me, stirred into the spaghetti sauce
And the chocolate chip banana bread.
Long after I’m gone, my kitchen will stay with them,
With every bite of pie, whiff of coffee, or bowl of soup
I set them off for their day, their week, their world.
A fullness of belly, heart, and memory trumps clean floors.