only the bowls are empty

glass bowls by the stove
line the counter, a circle
of stars as light catches them,
each filled, waiting — the green
and white shallots, garlic’s
pungent slivers, fresh chives,
thyme from the garden,
tomatoes weeping seeds
we move in the unison
of well-practiced orbits — if our
shoes were paint brushes
would we have a map
of our cooking, the recipe’s
steps in color, the floor a
canvass of hues brushed
next to or over another
even as we know
the outcome — well-sauced
mussels in deep bowls, crusty
bread to mop last morsels —
as familiar and new
as morning

Image: “Mussels, eaten” by Quinn Dombrowski, licensed under CC 2.0.

Connemara Wadsworth:
One evening as my husband and I prepared our dinner, I paused and saw the kitchen as a canvas — the colors of herbs and spices before they were added to a steaming sauce, where their scents combined to something new. And our steps from sink to fridge to stove a familiar pattern though still fresh. As I took this in, I saw in my pause this complexity as part of our full lives and just as ephemeral except at that moment. The bowls, then empty, would fill again.

This poem came together quickly, more so than many of mine. Sometimes I make notes, often I just start writing. I tend to be wordy when I begin so editing well and redrafting is essential. I work with a thesaurus by my side, read my drafts aloud. I am amazed how some poems just don’t work, some do immediately, and others progress slowly. I love suddenly being drawn into a poem as I work on it, and yes frustration arises. If I have a mantra it is, “go deeper”.

Connemara Wadsworth
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