"Veil" - Calvin Olsen

It is difficult to see through
      the boiling water. The slats in the wood spoon
wave and disappear as I scoop the ladle
      under the macaroni sticking to its siblings
and the pot that holds my focus.

      Some mothers would warn to mind the fire,
some to use the fan above the stove,
      but Mother does not use her voice. I hear her
from the pantry or behind me by the island,
      all her happiness moving my direction
the way sound moves through water—
      I need only be its destination.

Before the need to move away from home,
      before my words and fingers pushed her back,
before the idea of an independent self
      settled on my psyche, I was known.
This woman has seen behind me, seen me
      grow into my body, felt my hunger, quenched my flame.
The house has changed. Not all the doors are open
      yet. Feeling my way forward I find traces of her
essence when I press against the walls.

Honorable Mention.


<- Previous        Next ->

Read other Contest Poems.