for Elaine Bloomer,
wherever you are
and mean, Elaine would lean
across the couch and in silence,
without expression, like
a scientist probing a worm,
shed pinch the skin
on my skinny arm
between her fingernails
until a bright pearl of blood
appeared, red as
jelly spot at the end
of the donuts her starch-aproned mother,
grandmother and auntall bounteously fat
would bring on doilies of white paper and
a silver dish. Oh, the richness!
Oh, the smell of dough and sugar
in that mad and manless house! The reek
of butter, batter and sweet, sweet cream!
Vanillas fume, scalded milk and ginger,
snuff of nutmeg, caramel and smaze of lemon rind!
Oh, oil of grenadine!
mothers prudent kitchen
dessert was Sundays only.
Friday, codfish. Back Bay
baked beans and brown bread Saturdays,
and through the week, leeks, ham stock and
cabbage oppressed the air.
Organdy was for the altar,
doilies were a Protestant excess,
and men and dogs were everywhere.
for that dusted donut, that fatty sac
of quivering cherry gel,
that powdered, pregnant blim of ruby sweet,
Id spill my blood each week and never sing,
and sit with fat Elaine upon the couch
to eat the goddamn thing.
Copyright 2000, Norah Christianson
Norah Christianson was a recipient of The Academy of
American Poets prize from the University of Bridgeport,
and was editor of the Connecticut River Review
for the past five years. She and her two children live in
Switched-on Gutenberg/Vol. 4, No. 2