Synthesis and Destruction


On days the wind was stitched with ice and jays
harassed fat squirrels in the grapevines they’d drive
out past the high-school track and defunct
Purina plant to the farm stand of cider, squash,
garlic bulbs like shrunken heads with ponytails,
bread-and-butter pickles in Ball jars topped
with skirts of lace or gingham, hickory nuts
in plastic bags, and musky dunes of fresh morels.
His heart spun with oiled ease: a missile’s gyroscope.
Back in the kitchen, cats threading their
ankles, they’d move to their standard stations
sure as filings to a magnet or spilled wine
osmosing up a dishcloth. She at the stove
and he the cutting board. What did that
symbolize, synthesis and destruction?
The star onstage and prompter concealed
among the footlights? What are the words, sous
and saucier? They’re French, that’s certain.
And certain the syrah, butter, Coltrane,
and parsley. Certain the dark blue napkins,
night’s darkness, weak candlelight,
and an unforgettable story (how if her father
found she’d left a wooden spoon in water he
would hit her with it) he’s forgetting.