I used to do most of my writing late at night, by the blue glow of the computer screen. Somehow nudging out poetry was easier when I was bleary from lack of sleep. I don’t write poetry much these days, despite my love for it. I usually blame my lack of time or energy, but that’s just lazy of me. I’m a quick writer and very rarely fiddle with anything for long.
I thought it would be interesting to see what I could come up with, poetry-wise, in fifteen minutes. It is Tuesday night, 7:24 p.m.
My hands are wet,
thin red rivulets running
down my wrists, the cutting board
covered in seeds, peels, stems.
I am canning tomatoes.
The kitchen is sticky
with steam, scent of fruit
on its last leg.
As a young woman I had a friend in Hungary.
She once mailed me a purple shawl
in a soft package plastered
with stamps, their faces smudged.
I rescued my parcel from the post office
on a Saturday morning, quiet,
rain in the clouds but not yet
on the streets.
I remember ripping the tape from the package,
holding the floppy shawl
against my nose. I cried
at my friend’s smell, slurry of
coffee and wood shavings and something
Tonight I press small crimson globes
into hot jars, assembly-line
style. I am thinking of my friend,
her crinkled hair, her crow’s feet,
her knitting needles clucking
in the background of her letters.
I haven’t received post from Hungary
in many years.
Is that the best poem I’ve ever written? No. But I certainly don’t have any excuses.