Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Potato Eaters

Each night at dinner, in lieu of grace,
my mother lit the center candle
on the table. We children
were allowed two fingers of wine
from the icy jug that was kept cold
out on the front porch. The seven of us
shared bread and casserole on our full plates
and the light filled the room with luster.
Each of us had a task: clear the dishes,
wipe the table, snuff out
the half-melted candle,
its smoky trail reaching to the ceiling
like fingers folding into prayer.

When the washer was full,
we'd stand by the sink, my mother and I,
her hands plunged into the soapy water,
mine holding a dish towel,
removing the dripping pans from the drainer,
and wiping the water away, to expose the shine.
We'd stand there in the evening hour
quietly perfecting every keepsake minute.

Later in life, I stand in class, by the desk
in front of students as we discuss short fiction,
plunging into emerging themes.
A daughter and mother in one story
bathe together in a tub infused
with herbs and barks;
the same characters travel to market
to gather bread, butter, and fish
to prepare together later.
The mother preserves the daughter's childhood
in a trunk: plaid dresses and yellowed blankets,
mementos aired out and refolded again.

In capital letters I write
chalk powdering the folds of my slacks. Together
we learn that these acts are connective tissue that bind
our muscle to bone. Though pages away,
miles, or even years, we, as characters
break bread, fold hands into each other's,
light the light that will unblind us.

—"Ritual" by Amy Nawrocki

Heads up, Emberlings! I have news not of culinary practices and the cultures in which they manifest, but of a book, and a book of poems at that. I'm delighted to announce the publication of Potato Eaters by Amy Nawrocki. Amy, a friend of mine and wife of frequent Embers commenter Eric, has been attracting a good deal of attention for her deeply felt work. Potato Eaters is Amy's first book and the result of a number of years of diligent craft. Writers, you know what this takes.

Potato Eaters will be available in early November and is available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press.

P.S. This just in! Congratulations, too, to Phoenixville's own Ocean Earth Wind Fire, sanctuary for yoga, massage & whole living, which celebrates its first anniversary!

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Blogger Brett said...

See, I started reading this post and thought Wow-- he's really working in a different tone and style today..."

Somehow the mental image of Young Goodman Rasmussen, standing there on your Quaker-style milking stool, swabbing dishes at the sink by golden candlelight, sporting a dopey two-fingers of wine grin... kinda sorta struck me as amusing to consider.

Congrats to your pal.

10:22 AM  

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