For every house on our block there’s a tree
bearing, fruiting the lane’s tract line.
If I could bake a muffin for every hand not open
in the wave of hello, I would never tell
how our nieces would knock on each door, for a cup
of brown sugar, an egg, or a teaspoon of soda
to borrow from cupboards everything they lacked,
when the berries for a pie and the cash required
for buying desserts burned faster as the months wore on,
where here, among the flailing middle class, puddings
are instant, fruit juices are ten percent, and cookies
come in plastic. Yes, the songbirds are common, but still
I savor every dark yard apple, juicy as summer,
purple fruit of shrub trees with star-shaped clusters
in the thousands. Every current of sweetness, each mouthful
sustains, overflowing paper cups hot from the oven.
I remember how our nieces stirred what they borrowed,
baked for her when she could not. He’s not home yet. I’ll wait.
From An Apparently Impossible Adventure (BlazeVOX [books] 2016).
First appeared in Illuminations, Vol. 17 2016.
~ Laura Madeline Wiseman
Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of 25 books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance, selected for the Nebraska 150 Booklist. Her collaborative book Intimates and Fools is a Nebraska Book Award 2015 Honor Book. Her latest book is Velocipede. She teaches at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Julie Ramon is an English instructor at NEO A&M in Miami, Oklahoma. She graduated with an M.F.A from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. Among writing, her interests include baking, sewing, traveling, and garage sales. She is also a co-organizer of a Joplin, Missouri poetry series, Downtown Poetry. She lives in Joplin with her husband, daughter, and sons.