“Kitchenette”

Missing you is easy when

The rim of my red plastic bowl

Chips gawkish fractures into the egg in my palm.

Maybe I miss the porcelain bowls you picked out

when I was seven. Maybe Inland Empire

Eggshells just crumple easier into my bowl-bound

Flour hills than I’m used to.

 

In summer I knew to clear out from the kitchen when you pulled

Our sputtering handmixer out from the cupboards.

You’d stand in the frame of the open window,

Dig measuring spoons into canisters.

You wouldn’t let me help.

 

Sometimes, here, I forget that the bottom rack roosts

Too close to the scorching curves of my oven coils.

This faded, butter-splattered recipe card, looped with your handwriting,

Promised me perfection in ten minutes. I pulled these charred lumps at eight.

They hiss in the trash can, spit singed sugar at my flimsy oven mitt.

 

You never baked in the first apartment. You were never in the mood.

Maybe the kitchen was too small to fit us both, to fit our hissing and

Raw silence. But now, though your new china nests among new cupboards,

I can only tiptoe back to memories when your churning spatula paused,

When you smiled at me.

 

My apartment is littered with boxes of craft projects and pictures and

Packs of books – anything you didn’t want room for.

Fledglings are pushed out of the nest with less, but I wish you’d at least

Sent me flapping with directions for meatloaf or

A roll of quarters for my mushrooming laundry basket.

 

When I was seventeen and wanted to prove I could make the better fudge,

I scorched the pot. Smooth chocolate wisped with marshmallow

Stuttered into clunky pebbles. You tried to rescue it for me. I just

Hovered, hands knotted in the same shapes my stomach forges when I think of

Calling you to ask if I can come home.

 

The slab of fluorescent lights above my head stays off. You preferred

Incandescents anyway. My hair sidles out of the clip I stole from you, frizzes

To the flipped rhythms of your old saxophone music. My hip clicks and these thirty-six

Sugar cookie pills aren’t worth the dish soap I’ll need to scrub up.

But they’re mine.

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Alexandra Villamore is an undergraduate at UC Riverside.

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