Richard Luftig

My mother always said
you could never have enough
stoves in a house.
One in the kitchen resuscitating
life into leftovers downed
in parallel silence
with my father watching
TV or shaking the evening
paper into grudging obedience.

Another stove, poised
on the back porch alone
counting time until Sundays
when the running and noise
of grandchildren rattling
plates in the hutch signaled time
to make pasta and sauce until late
afternoon smelled full
of basil and bread.

The other appliances could
all go to hell as far as she cared;
coffee makers used to hold
spare change, and paper bags
stacked in the dishwasher
in brown sentry rows. But migration
of children has shrunk
the house like cellophane
left overnight in her freezer.

Now she waits for a niece
to put her on a plane in one city
only to be poured out
in another like tea from the kettle.
She looks out the porthole,
reads the daily bible lesson
and wonders how she will ever learn
to eat her daughter's TV dinners
cooked by microwave light.