Sunday supper table (sestina)

Two at the ends, two at the back
one for the cook, one for the help
this was the way of Sunday’s table:
hungry tums anxiously waiting,
family dog glued to the floor
lest any scrap should need saving.

Father would pray for all our saving;
serve himself before handing back,
while Mother paced the dining floor
ever offering us kids some help
till dishes, her end, piled up, waiting –
always an imbalance at our table.

Silence was the rule of the table,
stories and anecdotes were for saving,
politeness called for patient waiting –
chairs tucked in and shoulders back
and no cutting the meat without help,
cold potatoes slyly sloshing on floor.

Youngest feet not reaching the floor
tended to swing beneath the table
kicking knees could not be helped;
from fiendish scowls no saving –
Father’s hand flashed a wicked back,
scolding sermons he kept in waiting.

My tongue would tire of the waiting
no matter how I focused on the floor
and if a sister should glance me back
that would be the end of a quiet table,
giggles nervously emerging from saving
any hope of control beyond our help.

Mother’s good nature was seldom help,
nor Father’s silence as he glared, waiting,
for the situation was far beyond saving,
and his chair angrily scraped the floor
as his storming presence left the table
we happily waved at his regressing back.

***

All the stories we’ve been saving –
childhood foibles we couldn’t help

Days and people we’ll never get back
hoping that somewhere they’re waiting

That one day we’ll meet, share the floor
minus the hurt, forgiveness at the table.

(My poetry circle tried their hands at a sestina.
This is my attempt. Another tale from dinner
with Dad. Image my own.)

Religious Calling

Armed with righteous conformity
the zealots rang my bell

Came calling on a cleaning day,
in that remote country hell

Spotted me before I did them
my attention on wringing the mop

No choice but to answer
and before I could ask them to stop

Carefully scripted narrative
tumbled from pious lips

Bemused, I noted neither blink
as I, stark naked, stood hands on hips.

(Image my own)


The Queen Is Missing

She’s not in the kitchen
presiding over preparations,
thriving amidst the chatter,
tutting away thieving fingers.

She’s not in the classroom,
mastering subjects,
upholding order,
ruling with charitable hand.

Nor is she at social affairs,
head bent in rapt attention,
smiling cordially,
gracious with compassion.

The Queen is missing –
the poise and composure
that marked her carriage
has vanished without a trace.

Don’t ask the old woman
tottering down the lane,
stooped and stumbling –
she’s not all there.

Her mind’s a trickster,
her ego a petulant child,
unwilling to concede wrong –
she’s merely the court jester.

(The Queen is Missing first appeared August of 2015.)

 

Herding Cats

One a Tom –
night prowler,
elusive schemer –
renders me sleepless.

Another, pampered,
a diva demanding,
high anxiety to boot –
makes me crazy.

Third, a trickster,
stays out of sight
and then springs –
keeps me on my toes.

This raising children,
like herding cats –
next to impossible,
and I’m allergic.

(A light-hearted poem in response to Willow Poetry’s What Do You See? Challenge:  featured image.)

 

Kindergarten Pie

Take a classroom of five-year-olds –
nimble-footed, names unintelligible –
add a dozen runny noses
and three boo-boos
and one unfortunate ‘accident’.

Introduce a teacher –
holiday hazed and overtired –
mix with a controversial curriculum,
a dash of micromanaging parents,
and splash of report cards due.

Blend cautiously,
taking care that all ingredients remain
in the bowl…er…classroom…

Bake for five days,
cool over the weekend.

(I taught Kindergarten for a day and still have nightmares about it, lol.  To all the primary teachers out there – I am not worthy.  You are amazing.  Poem inspired by a recent dream, and written in the spirit of this week’s challenge:  recipe. Challenge is open all week – would love it if you joined in.)

Implications of a Wink

A wink?
Seriously?

Am I meant to smile
in conspiratorial culpability,

was that a Colgate
bright teeth,
complete with chime
wink, or…

a big bad wolf,
I’m coming to get you
later wink, or…

hand-in-cookie-jar,
you didn’t see this –

in which case,
I wink.

(Written for dVerse‘s quadrille night – a poem in 44 words – with the prompt, wink; and for Ragtag Community’s, chime.)