A Recipe for Everything
A Prose Poem
Homemade oysters are not actually oysters but noodles and hamburgers squished into pillows, boiled and spread with buttered breadcrumbs. Roll the dough on the kitchen table, EVERYONE (yes, you!).
You won’t get out of the house on St. Patty’s Day if you’re not wearing green—at least, not without a lot of black and blue pinch marks. You’re IRISH, you know (and German). Related to that, when Dad yells, “I told you girls not to sit on the sink when you put on your make-up—you’ve broken the sink!” And you rush, rush, rush to the bathroom to see what your older sisters did—only then to remember it’s your father’s other favorite holiday, April Fool’s Day. He giggles, the rest of you groan.
Sit up straight, be quiet, LISTEN, bow your head, straighten your veil (that reminds you of your grandmother’s doilies), show respect—Father Bob is talking.
< < <
And, when you feel the urge to run, to wander off, to explore, Grandmother will tell you about the family’s pioneer tragedy: the little girl whom your family was forced to leave behind in Oregon in the early 1900s, lost in the wilderness forever. She is your great aunt-somebody, and when your mind wanders during Father Bob's homily, as it inevitably will, you are right there in the Oregon wilderness with her. She is still a little girl like you, and so you tell her about the homemade oysters—the rolling, the squishing, the boiling—the Irish pinching, the April fooling, the doilies you must wear on your head. She smiles, then cries when you leave.
NOTE: The poem evolved from an interview of another teacher, moments from her life.