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Cellophane wraps up against the chest of the whole wheat, and the silence at 3 am pushes the boundaries. From the kitchen, I hear the breathing of your sleep in the pitched moonlight. The veins in the lettuce are like the crow’s feet under your deft eyes. The tomato beams with self-confidence, its juice is waiting for you to taste all its dimensions. This time of night, it’s all pathology and mirrors. I look close inside my own parachute of self, and there I see my problems have problems. But the knife gently spreads the mustard. The seeds bristle for your attention, the ones you raked to close the garden in November. The river outside is loud and menacing—The portent of all the dark things to come. The dog won’t live forever. I am so used to the way he sweeps up the crumbs. Then, I imagine the sleuths of our bodies quivering in a rain forest of ground pepper. Our appetite for ardor is boundless. Next to my thoughts, the smell of our child’s scalp after a bath, the stink of his diaper. This is life, this is the whole menu of our foibles. The whiff of the toast now, like the sweat on your brow after love. A requiem of song and ingredients. I pack a thermos, 2 cookies, tart apple slices that will later smile at you from a bag—My noontime missive, a text of seduction. As I head to bed, a heron scuffs the river’s surface.
Cynthia Atkins is a poet and visual artist who currently lives on the Maury River of Rockbridge County, VA with artist Phillip Welch and their family. Her many books include Still-Life with God (Saint Julian Press, 2020).
Copyright 2021 Cynthia Atkins