• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 01

Why We Keep Stirring

The flick of a ginger tail,
the creak of the hallway door, unoiled,
the sound of slippered feet on stone,
the whispered jump on the counter,
these things take mere seconds.
My sister and I calculate just how many steps
it takes for our mother’s sleepy, morning gait
to reach the handle to the kitchen.

It started with one spoonful of cream,
then two.
The brush of fur against my skirt’s apron
was his convincing thank you.
I responded to need with my need to give.
Our full bowls of oatmeal
became cut in half,
using half as much milk,
a willing sacrifice.

“We have too many mouths to feed,”
she said.
“Our cupboards barely filled,
my hands are empty.”

By 11 a.m. my stomach rumbles,
singing in harmony with my sister’s
insistent hunger.
We know the half-moon patience
of wanting less.


Why We Keep Stirring

Reaching down behind the hidden counter,
we touch the soft head
that lifts to meet our hands,
hear the steady motor of contentment.
Our days are marked by mornings
anticipating his orange-striped faithfulness,
the best reason for why
we keep stirring bowls.