Nothing is to scale & is the hall closet
really where I think it is? & does it matter?
All it holds are the blankets we keep
from the cats & shoeboxes of photographs,
rolls of my parents in black & white: thin
& playing beach volleyball, their mouths
rounded mid-song on Bourbon Street.
& those days are gone. The kitchen is not
really half the size of the second floor bathroom,
but it is narrow, like a hallway of a small ship.
What shape should a kitchen be?
I keep remembering all the times I burnt the rice
or how Mom tried to make Jell-O once
& it never set & she threw her hands up,
blamed the ghosts who hide our keys
for ruining her attempt at strawberry salad.
How the signals for touchdown
& surrender are the same. & Dad said
there are no ghosts, how dare she say that,
& damn, he would've loved some Jell-O
this Sunday. & a whistle blown.
Mom's head hung like a tree branch
burdened with plums.

If I could map a place for ache,
it would be here.


Anna Meister

Julie FarstadPrairiesummerheartbreak (oil on canvas on board)