Back then, nestled in the cinnamon fern corner

of the backyard, next to our wooden pirate

ship with its mushy, rotting planks was our

sand-box kitchen.

 

And back then, the kitchen was alive; the chandelier 

was an evergreen, the tiles canary-gold pansies,

the sink a bird bath with water trickling down

a stone pineapple.

 

The oven doubled as a four-star bug bed and breakfast,

with silky white webs hiding in the high corners, 

housing slumbering spiders and flies tucked snug

in sleeping bags.

 

We used to sit, knees folded like soft pretzels,

sweat sprinkled like salt and with our palms pushed

sand into three tiers, each layer decorated with blossoms

and mulberries.

 

I was the casserole queen, long after they left me

to cook on my own. 

 

By Eileen Ellis

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