Monday, April 8, 2013

Defining Moments

digital art: ralph murre

Defining Moments
by Jessica Goody

These are the things I am made of:
the cupboard of dishes
accrued by each successive generation:
the monogrammed wedding glasses;
soup plates at every Seder
fiesta-festive with color,
wreathed with exotically plumed birds.

The kitchen table scarred with age,
paint rubbed off by shoulders
long slouched against aged seat backs.
And my rainbow mug, the purple stripe fading
from each sore-throat tea and honey,
each winter cocoa, each cup of
homemade chicken soup.

These are the things I am made of:
afghans crocheted by three generations
in many different houses.
The carved wooden Moses
bearing staff and sandals,
carefully traveled from Israel.

The wedding menorah,
clumps of wax dug from candleabra stems
with dutiful scrutiny;
cocktail toothpicks and aluminum foil.
The ritual as familiar, if not as revered
as the candle-lighting itself.

The old cookbooks,
Grandmother’s, Great-Grandmother’s,
both maternal and paternal,
wedding gifts for setting up house.
Book jackets fraying and torn,
pages brown and cracked
as the old hands who turned them,
stained with succulence
from favorite recipes.

The grand piano, a Steinway,
gone now, admired and ignored,
ivories chipped, lacquer scratched
by four generations,
to whom a respect for music
came more readily
than a talent for playing it.

These are the things I am made of:
the photo albums from before my time,
the adhesive pages brittle and no longer sticky;
the label-tape peeling off.     

The rank saltiness
of the Atlantic at high tide;
and gnarled trees with tumorous roots,
their withered knotholes like dried fruit.

~ first published in Cyclamens and Swords