My father grabbed a fat one, pierced, then sewed
the wriggling worm into a squirming muddy knot.
He cast the line, reel whirring, into the pond––kerplunk—
and passed the rod. I reeled, red bobber bouncing,
circles spiraling and frogs belching from cattails. Dad
grinned as I patiently sat cross-legged, eyeing the ripples.
As a kid, I trudged through thistles, milkweed and Queen
Anne’s Lace to reach the Erie Canal. I paddled a canoe,
skipped stones and waved wildly to tanned boat captains
whose murky wake lapped and splashed grassy banks,
dragonflies skirting the drops. Years later, I’d be sprawled
on that rocking deck, bikini-clad, waving back to shore.
The French city of Grenoble smelled like butter biscuits
and exhaust. Chic in four-inch heels, this Buffalo girl
tasted coffee, wine and French boys, shrugging off winter
in obligatory black. Hugo, Lamartine and Verlaine penned
milk glass words in a sea of clouds over the snowy Alps
to an American studying français, poèmes and la vie.
Now, I watch students pull up hoodies, hunch over phones
and yank up jeans as they funnel to the doors, a concert exit
from the cacophony of reading, math and physics
to jobs and practice. We teachers bundle papers, oversize
bags on both shoulders, slipping into plain costumes
of ordinary roadies lugging amps and guitars to the truck.
Chefs of words sauté metaphors and images, stirring
rapidly in ink before adding spices and wine. They tweak
recipes while preheating ovens. Before dotting casseroles
with butter, they share tastes and ponder stanzas
of Billy, Ted and Wes. Exotic aromas awaken
latent urges to sample poetic dishes. I lick the spoon.
© 2011 Kim King