The hands first.
(It's always the hands first.)
Dancing on the low table; main room
in your house of food.

The stretch of skin
like silk decaying.
Its edges ache
as they
turn inside.

(Your plump potato palms
like well-cooked latkes...)

I dip paper in
milk coffee;
inhale as it meets my lighter,
grows the pseud of years captured;
Illy; an anointment of ashes.

The kitchen cupboards,
dizzy with drunk gumballs
are rattling like traintracks.
Plates of ham sweat, waiting.

Frying bread sizzles; whispers;
the Danube in September;
dozing out stories to
half-open ears.

Your palms are underground, dancing;
giddy with soil, and the
scent of lifetimes.

Footsteps echo off the high ceiling.
Warsaw: (more potatoes?)
The thud of boots stampeding.

Nimble fingers draw dark-haired faces
from dust beams. They're all yellow now.

And then: you are sixteen;

The splashes of lifetime


the hiss of fried air.

(I always imagined your freckles
must magnify
as each year mounted;
size a tribute
to each season's swelling.
That eventually you'd become
a swaddled potato; a single plump latke;
Stippled in sunbeams
as you are painted in air.)

Roberta Lawson

If you have any comments on this poem, Roberta Lawson would be pleased to hear them.

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