April 24, 2013

Una Nichols Hynum

MEGGY

Other cultures have gods for everything,
god of the vineyard, goddess of the hearth,
the orchard, the lambing, the shearing,
god of the manure pile, steamy and rich—
but I have no god to complain to.

Rummaging in the closet I come across
a doll made from a child’s cotton sock,
an Irish bar maid, apron, emerald dress,
saucy cap on red moppy hair—given to me
by a friend with a sense of humor.

Meggy 0’Shaughnessy, closet waif,
I dub thee goddess of my kitchen.
Wipe the grin off your face.

What do you know of kitchens and duty,
sitting on the spice shelf where I put you,
bloomers smudged with cumin dust,
dill on your cap, sock fists ready
to do battle with the salt?

What do you know about goddessing
for a woman who has spent sixty
years in this kitchen, sixty years
of colcannon and cabbage, of scraping
plates, the luckless glasses
dropped in despair?

You cannot know the terror of thinking
this is all there is. Maybe it’s enough
that you listen with your embroidered ears.

from Rattle #21, Summer 2004