my mother’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies—
tear open the packing tape, pop one in
the microwave, pretend she’s here in this
kitchen, her hands clasping a steaming mug.
opening day 2017, buttered popcorn,
souvenir sodas, high fives with strangers,
ketchup winning the animated condiment race,
someone’s proposal on the jumbotron.
a full sink, hot water and bubbles, lavender smell,
wine glass on the counter, soft terrycloth
slung over my bare shoulder, chickens dancing
the mashed potato outside the window.
my husband dipping to kiss my forehead
before work, my husband standing over a
boiling pot, my husband sitting in silence
as the television tells us awful bedtime stories.
Melissa Fite Johnson received her Master’s in English literature from Pittsburg State University in Kansas. Her first collection, While the Kettle’s On (Little Balkans Press, 2015), won the Nelson Poetry Book Award and is a Kansas Notable Book. Her poems have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Broadsided Press, The New Verse News, velvet-tail, and elsewhere. Melissa teaches English and lives with her husband in Kansas. For more, visit melissafitejohnson.com.
Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is from Wichita, Kansas. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He recently co-edited Kansas Time+Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017) together with Caryn Mirriam Goldberg. That anthology collected poems that appeared on this website from 2014-2016. His latest book, Amanuensis Angel (Spartan Press, 2018) contains ekphrastic poems, inspired by a variety of artists’ depictions of angels, that “resound and sometimes subvert expectations” (Tyler Robert Sheldon), that provide “a kaleidoscope of history, art, culture, the sacred and the everyday” (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg).