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Thumbprint...River Falls, Ala.
The Kitchen
By Beverly Z. Davis
Copyright 2000 Beverly Z. Davis
About scenes in a kitchen in Alabama.
Orange flames deepen the black iron of the
woodstove sitting squat in the middle of the kitchen
A feeble spot of yellow breaks from a hanging light bulb
adding no more sight than a guttering candle.
The uneven wooden floor, held together by grayed walls,
is blackened with a hundred or more years of women's feet
beating into it food bits, blood and grease.
Smells flare my nostrils ... soured cows' milk,
store-bought flour ... the makings of biscuits, fatback simmers
in a cast iron pot afloat with greens, burnt sugar blisters
with ghosts of peach cobblers and fig preserves
The window, a rectangle of soft morning,
hangs flush above the wooden sink in which
a large round enamel basin speckled with chips of use
waits. Next to the sink a beacon, the water pump
worn bright red, stands with raised letters
spelling "Sears." The sink gives off mysteries
of cold damp wood mottled with red earth
raising buried fumes of its deep water source.
The long sigh of the screen door opening and slapping shut
followed by jingling of the metal hook latch
dancing til stilled against the door frame.
Noon, the glare of white hot sand scorches the verbena
running zigzag across the swept yard.