Sunday, January 6, 2013

Onions and Butter

The mother’s hand shakes
as she spoon-feeds her son.
She’s missed lunch again.

All she wants
is to get him fed and down
before starting on dinner.
But her hand is shaking
and her baby is teething.

His face is covered in cereal and drool.
He cannot get enough of the feel
of his tongue between his lips.
Trills another cereal-laden raspberry.

The father looks up
from yesterday’s newspaper.
Tries to choke down a laugh.

She drops the spoon
into the bowl. Stands,
one hand on round hip,
one hand waving, “He’s yours.”

After a few minutes,
yesterday’s paper set aside
for the last time, the father scrapes the bowl
as she spreads peanut butter on toast.

He airplanes the last mouthful
into the baby’s wide-open smile.
The baby rubs red-rimmed eyes.

Just dusk now.
He sings to the baby
in the rocking chair.
She starts to hum along.

There’s a sizzle in the kitchen.
The baby’s eyes close. The house is full
of the smell of onions and butter.

Strong Verse - January 6, 2013

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