A Literary Feast

Archive for

Dancing on a Hot Skillet

Posted on October 14th, 2016

Rain patters on fallen leaves and the maple trees across the street blaze red. The companion oak trees next to them more modestly shift to gold while the conifers and evergreen shrubs hold fast to their northwest green. It’s grey this morning and cars hum by below, spraying water in their wake. The window is open, I sit on the bed, the door is shut. My husband is in the kitchen cooking Sunday breakfast while my nearly 3 year-old sits at the table contemplating the oatmeal I made for him 20 minutes ago. Once in awhile I hear him pick up the whistle his grandma sent him last week, giving an enthusiastic toot every few minutes.   This morning I both asked and took…

My Kitchen

Posted on October 14th, 2016

My kitchen needs an upgrade. It is furnished with old painted cabinets…hollandaise yellow on the outside and rust red on the inside. Why anyone painted the interior of kitchen cabinets I will never know. The range is a mid-century electric with two large and two small coil burners. The kind that don’t sit level anymore and laugh at the idea of ‘even heat’. The ‘hood’ is just a GE fan cut into the wall through to the exterior of the house, with a pull string to open. It might be the propeller from a very tiny plane – I can’t say. It starts a few minutes after you open it – perfect for when you have a forgotten pan of oil on the coil…

Going To Ground

Posted on October 14th, 2016

The mud under her boot soles rasped and rattled as though it had something to say but couldn’t remember how. It hadn’t rained since the last week in October, and the small river that ran through the cellar was little more than a trickle; along its banks lay little hillocks of earth neither wet nor damp. Dry mud, she thought as she dragged her feet through it, wishing she could kick off her boots and drag her toes through it. She imagined it would feel cool and crisp between her toes, like the scales of a fish that hasn’t been dead for long. She didn’t smile. The ceiling above her bounced like the underside of a drumhead, or at least she felt it did,…

Eating Lunch Alone

Posted on October 14th, 2016

“Work is always a little sordid.” –Emily St. John Mandel, The Singer’s Gun The shock of a new job came like fall this year, an icy unexpected blast at the end of a lazy hot summer. After three years at my previous teaching job, my only actual “professional” experience, I had moved on. Nothing had been typical about the position that I left. I founded the school in the South Bronx straight out of Columbia with nine other educators, over half of them under thirty, with all the bright eyed wonder of someone who had moved to New York from suburban Texas only eleven months before. Needless to say I had my teeth metaphorically kicked in, repeatedly, in a variety of different ways. That is…

Quack Low, Sweet Chariot

Posted on October 14th, 2016

The cooler weather, that search for thick socks, the first tentative roasting of root vegetables before the sun has set—the day still, somewhat, long. This is how I settle in. I laze and lank on the kitchen floor, pausing to stir sauce, pour wine, sneak rosemary into a roasting chicken, wedge chunks of butter beneath its translucent skin.   None of this can happen without some suspension of disbelief, some willful entry into a land where my eight by six foot kitchen expands palatially, where the hot water pipe that runs up the side of the stove converts to a gracious source of sustaining heat and I am cozy, swaddled, and all the tools of winter—crock pot, wooden spoon, herbs—are within easy reach. This…