I’m lured into my mother’s kitchen, snow
puddling with each step. Counter tops flooded,
cookies, pies and breads, trailing smoke
like smoldering ash in a fire pit.
My mother, dressed in dungarees, sleeves
scrunched, wearing a vintage, checkered apron.
Specks of chocolate, dough, and flour spot
her clothes, cheeks and fingers.
She rolls chocolate truffles in bowls
of chopped walnuts and cocoa powder,
dips pretzels in a pot of morsels
melting on the fiery stove.
She paints with bubbling hot sugar,
burning red cinnamon, chilling green spearmint,
drizzled on a canvas of foil to harden. Candy
dusted in powdered sugar, then broken into pieces.
Steam streams from the screaming kettle.
My mother pours the boiling water, churns
the cocoa. Milk gushes from a jug,
whipped cream twirls a fuzzy whisper.
She shoots me a slow, gentle wink,
her bright hazel eyes catching the sun
through the stain glass windows of our ancient
carriage house, with its high, cathedral ceilings.
The stove as her pulpit, she asserts the yiddish,
“It’s a schvitz!” cackling at her own quirkiness. She curses
with a grin, damning men to hell, all the while
preaching the importance of kindness.
Confident, she sings, never in key, always
with a note of optimism. I watch her
waltz upon the hard wood floor with grace,
and trust in the possibility of dreams fulfilled.
She is Queen of her Kitchen,
with its velvety scent of butterscotch,
its prickly hint of gingerbread,
where life’s uncertainties melt