The prompt at NaPoWriMo today was:
I’d like you to write a poem inspired by, or in the form of, a recipe! It can be a recipe for something real, like your grandmother’s lemon chiffon cake, or for something imaginary, like a love potion or a spell.
They were always most agile,
even against the background
of her ever-stooping shoulders
(the most cornerstone
stereotype of the elderly)
and her vague ears
remedied by aids without wires
for which she preferred
never to wear,
her hand-grasp never failed.
My seven-year-old self
would watch her squint against
the warm pink glint of her
glasses while I scoured
kitchen shelves for whatever
ingredients the cookbook called for.
Rather saltines and oats to
thicken the cream for meatloaf
or confectionary sugar
for her old-fashioned apple fritters,
I'd watch her strong hands
knead the dough with love.
With seventy years worth
of perseverance, and growing,
she'd work with an unfailing affinity
on the food that would replenish
four generations of her namesake.
Gathered around the dinner table,
We never noticed the mismatched dishes,
how crystal and fine China were incognito,
nor the yellow wallpaper that frayed
at the edges; only the magic her food was,
the love in her hands I later held
in her eldest age, counting the wrinkles
and willing to my memory the
curve of her thumbnail,
the shape of her grasp I pressed
against my chest, as if to imprint
upon my heart a reminant of her strength.