Bio Note: I live with my husband, our two cats, and too many books and CDs in a smallish house in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Many of those CDs are jazz, but not all are. Right now I'm listening to music on YouTube. Recently Pski's Porch published my book On the Other Side of the Window, and Pony One Dog Press will publish my book Poetry in Plein Air soon.
When I Was Thinking of Living in Chicago
I imagined cooking kielbasa
in a tiny kitchen, postcards
the color of butter mints.
I could have been boiling
sausage in a pot
almost too large for the burner.
I could have been spooning out
sauerkraut from a huge jar
to a gold-rimmed serving dish.
But I imagined myself stir-frying
the discs with onion, mushroom,
even a little frozen broccoli
bought at the market below,
humming and flipping the food
with a wooden spatula,
not the plastic one my mother
had given me.
I would play her radio,
tuned to the college station
that played reggae 23 hours a day,
the music of this third-floor apartment,
the music I had ignored back in college.
Playing polkas or the blues in Chicago
would be too much. I might as well
wear a Cubs cap and curse the night games.
I might as well cheer for the Bulls.
I could not imagine you eating this dinner.
Even here we’d be slurping
ramen noodles, too salty, too spicy,
too slimy with the seaweed
you’d buy at the co-op
halfway across the overfed city,
two or three buses away,
too far for even you
I must have been cooking
for someone else.
©2020 Marianne Szlyk
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