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Friday, January 18, 2013

Poem of the Week: An Archaeology of Cooking, Sally Zakariya

Peeling potatoes is the same in any kitchen
I stand at the sink
scraping earthy skins
off the waxy flesh

It was like that in the townhouses on the Hill
with their thin layers
of paint over years
of cooking stains

like that in R Street’s tiny closet kitchen
just bigger than a breadbox
but big enough for my
first turkey

like that too in the old place on North Edison
where the glass in the cabinet
doors shattered when Mother
slammed them shut

Of course she hated cooking—who could blame her?
a bleak narrow space
with one stool and
one stingy window

wide enough for us kids to squeeze through
when we forgot our keys
too circumscribed to let
the life she wanted in

In the new house, now mine, she asked for more— 
at least a double window 
at the sink so she could watch
the squirrels as she peeled

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