Sloppy Joes. (or: a maternal symphony in eight parts)

Coming home from dharma class at ten o’clock,
after dropping Ryan off to meet a friend,
i am ravenously hungry
Pull into the driveway, thinking only of putting food in my stomach.
the dogs must have time in the yard.
I watch them, because Annie is prone to wandering off.
It is cool, damp, and dark. I notice the outline of the sunflowers in the quiet.
the sleeping boy must be extricated from his carseat.
he wakes, and cries.
I notice the cold of the laundry room as I enter the house,
carrying him without his jacket.
I ransack the house for a pacifier. Diaper bag, kitchen, bathroom, changing table, livingroom, writing desk.
notice things everywhere i go, but no pacifier.
stop to notice myself stretched out on our bed,
rooting through the sheets while he screams.
Locate pacifier under a pillow.
Grab at it, and it falls to the floor under the bed.
extricate it, suck it clean in my own mouth, and offer it to him.
He refuses to be pacified.
I sit in the rocking chair and open my shirt. Notice the way he latches on
as if he and I are magnets.
Rock slowly while he eats his fill. Listen to the dogs drink water.
Listen to the quiet that fills the house after.
Set the baby in his bouncy chair.
Step back tentatively, waiting for him to cry.
He doesn’t.
I scramble to prepare food for myself in the lull.
Think: simple. simple. Simple. quick.
The fridge is full of simple things I don’t want.
I end up heating up a can of kidney beans.
Stare at them in the pan, and add some chopped onion.
Realize there are chickpeas and lentils in the fridge that need to be eaten.
Add them.
Realize I have no idea what I’m doing.
Add garlic and “southwestern spices”
return to the fridge,
now compelled to use things that are already open.
add some spicy soy ground beef I find
notice the tomatoes ripening on the windowsill.
decide to save them for something special, and
add a can of tomato paste.
realize I have made sloppy joes,
after a fashion.
find this so hilarious I rush to write it all down before the boy is no longer content.
Realize I’ve been writing for 30 minutes and the heat is still on under the skillet.
i’ve burned it but good.
Laugh at myself. The baby laughs with me.
Then cries.

the tomatoes I saved for something special. (tomato art inspired by Maggie)


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Filed under Dharma, Food, motherhood, Ordinary, poetry

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