Sunday, April 12, 2015


The kitchen is tight,
in spite of our scrimping
for more than a decade
for a generous building fund.
We denied ourselves
so many luxuries,
in order to build a house
with a much bigger kitchen.

The galley kitchen
in our old house
was too narrow,
barely wide enough
for two persons to walk
Your cheek, my jowl,
your stirring, my chopping,
too intimate when
room required to
swing a frying pan
or throw a knife.

Parties gravitated
to that too-tight space,
forming two rows,
face to face,
drinking, laughing, talking,
sucking in their stomachs
should someone need
to walk through
to get to the porch.
Body contact made
most efficiently,
everyone could have,
might have
touched each other
in that kitchen.

This kitchen is open,
a large stainless island
with wide surface area,
more counterspace
than we dreamed of
in that cramped ranch.
But the island creeps close
to the counter somehow,
and we find ourselves
again cheek to jowl,
party goers drawn
to the narrowed space
as if we'd never built
a much bigger house.

It never occurs to us
to change this again.
It is what it is,
after all these years,
crayons and refrigerator magnets,
burnt toast and cheesecakes,
small fingers kneading gnocchi,
aprons near the stove.

Those cable television shows
with shiny-faced hosts
demonstrating home construction
and remodeling
omit one key thing:
As much as we think we want
that expansive place,
bright with paint and chrome,
the thing that cannot be built
with lumber and nails,
drywall and tile,
is the dance along
that tight space,
the throbbing heart
of a place called home.

Copyright 2015 Femme Malheureuse

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