Samantha Vealey | Queen of the Kitchen

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

to hope.


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