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Solstice Kitchen
by Star Coulbrooke

The grandchildren have gone home,
those close enough to come for winter solstice
dinner. I stand at the kitchen sink
washing and drying the dishes,
their smooth round heat
all that remains of children visiting,
children who were once a size that fit inside
the sink beside me as I worked in the kitchen,
and now their own children
are too big for sink-sitting.

Outside the moon shines over
the frozen earth where states away
a baby was born today to a child of mine,
the child who once toiled
in the kitchen over broccoli,
my instructions to start dinner while I gardened,
left the cutting of the florets from the stems
in her little-girl hands, and she, not knowing,
cut each tiny bud away,
pieces too small for the strainer.

She cried there in the kitchen
while I worked in the sun, longest day of summer,
coming in at last to see broccoli stems
lined up on the drainboard
and a thousand green seeds floating
in the sink like miniature water lilies.

The daughter of my daughter will grow
from this winter to a far-away summer
in the time it takes her mother
to wash a few dishes
and place them in the cupboard,
memories flooding over her
like water over plates.


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