I used to be a good man. There are memories, strong, of sitting on the porch with Marcie. We drank sweet tea from jelly jars. The porch was cluttered with flower pots and lawn chairs and Marcie’s rainbow of flipflops. I rested my hand on her thigh and we watched the alfalfa fields shift in the wind, like feathers rising from water, and imagined shapes in the chameleon clouds. Sometimes I plucked dandelions from the lawn and tucked one behind her ear. She laughed, then scowled, then laughed again. Eventually, the sweet tea became bourbon, and the laughter became the deepest part of our summer nights. We were young, so young. I remember I wanted her and she wanted me, and then somewhere, somehow, we became poison to each other. I was a good man once, but that might just be a dream, a desire for long-ago soundness.
She stirs the big copper pot, bubbling onions and carrots and sliced red potatoes, salted and peppered, frothing like ocean foam, and the steam rises, a thin blur of vapor smears the kitchen window, aromas of home. Seeds and spilled spices on the countertop, overhead fan whirling its muscular rhythm, bubbling yellow broth, the tap-tap-tap of a wooden spoon against metal, dull noise in the grand silence. It was her mother’s pot, handed down like the silverware and the wedding dress and the family casserole recipes. This is how you will live, it was implied: cooking soup, controlling the stove’s flame, memorizing ingredients. The steam will frizzle your hair and make your hands damp, and the aromas will be your home. The bone china bowls with the rose patterns, faded now, handed down, and the gravy boat and the silver serving platter, all hers now, stored in molding cardboard boxes. No clobbered tin cups, no McDonald’s water glasses, no plastic plates collected from flea markets, not for you, but these fine Revere Ware copper pots, and ivory tablecloths, and crystal pickle dishes, these make a house a home. And the steam rises in the kitchen.
With the so-called “Snowpocalpyse” on its way, we’re making preparations. Living in a somewhat isolated area, there’s a good chance we won’t see civilization for a few days, so we’re ready. Pizza and a movie tonight, tuck in under some blankets, and watch the world turn into a blank page for the next couple of days. As long as we don’t lose power….
This shot was taken last year, which wasn’t nearly as bad as what’s been forecast. We’ll see. The old Ford may just disappear this time around.
Stay safe, stay warm, keep those blankets and the hot chocolate nearby. 🙂
We run for the sun
and its narrow-hipped glow,
a slow pursuit to regain our youth,
the cold in our bones grows livelier
but we chase ourselves, renew ourselves
and bruise ourselves in that abundant attempt;
no, don’t forget who we were,
we keep running just for the movement,
just for the moment, and we haven’t stopping