Back then, nestled in the cinnamon fern corner
of the backyard, next to our wooden pirate
ship with its mushy, rotting planks was our
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
I was the casserole queen, long after they left me
to cook on my own.
By Eileen Ellis