by Mark Young
I gambol at her nape and slip my hand
inside her shirt along her empty belly
while she cuts smooth and sharp, successfully
restraining seeds and pulp that threaten to
escape tomatoes ripened on the vine.
I heat the pan until the oil spreads easily,
and scrub the chicken clean,
then trim it carefully for fat.
She salts an extra piece and taps
my shoulder once. I turn to her.
Amused, we watch each other chew,
and listen to the chicken spit.
At will I cull a day when I was small
enough to frog-march chairs up to the kitchen
counter, an off-white stretch of formica
from sink to stove and buckling near the wall.
For leverage I’d grab the wooden rest
until I’m able to survey
the counter and the yellow bowl
that’s covered with a dampened cloth.
A censer filled with flour, yeast, and salt
is waiting for the match, my urchin’s fist.
One punch releases sluggish whiffs
of dough, a matriarch’s incense.
— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 2