Spectacle

This is how
I remember you,
white apron
speckled with red sauce,
spectacles on the end
of your nose,
eyes rolling heavenward
while you stifled a mutter,
“Sweet baby Jesus,
will you ever stop?”

That I didn’t
showed us both something:
I was not to be trusted.
Not with dirty pots
I’d stuck to the floor,
nor ladles I used
to mix the dog’s food,
nor noodles
I squished like clay,
squeezing them between
my fingers, al dente
sculptures of monsters
and play – no,
this was more than a kitchen.
It was a studio
for art and science.

I was too old
to get away
with any of it,
of course.
I knew I certainly
knew better,
but you were there,
half blind to my faults,
grandmother, grandma,
nonna.
“Turn my head
for one godforsaken minute,
and here’s what you do…”
you’d say,
I pointing up
at the stove,
batting eyelashes
at your horrified look,
asking if now
it was my turn
to cook.

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