Featured: Final Inventory (On Her Dying)

David Anthony Sam
There the kitchen,
my kitchen,
age-warped windows
distorting the garden of burials
where four dogs
and twelve cats
molder my life
with a fence that keeps
their silence shaded in mornings
by the lilac
that needs thinning
and does not blooms
another spring.
 
Here my sink,
the right basin plugged slow
like the history of my veins—
And here my stove,
its four gas burners
that glow blue—
and the oven below
where I must bake
more bread.
 
Wait…wait.
Wait the door to my
dining room,
the dark walnut
dining table and buffet and china cabinet
we bought used from…
when was that,
what were their names? Wait…just wait
here at the door.
 
The archway here
to my living room,
my chair, my stand
with crosswords puzzled
still unfinished,
my pen,
my notebook with poems still
unfinished,
my unread books there
on the unfinished shelf
he started
to make and never stained. Wait.
 
Begin again, here, my kitchen,
here my refrigerator, the GE
that needs defrosting, wait—
we gave that one away
decades ago.
Here my new refrigerator,
open it,
here is the milk and eggs.
Here is the cupboard,
open the spices
that flavored so many
memories
and flour.
 
Wait…please wait.
The end of the story,
I guess.
There in my kitchen.
Where
is my bedroom?
I have to get my life back.
How do I get my life back?
 
Wait, no—it is not here,
not here.
I guess it’s time to write another
story.
While my hands fade
and cannot open memories more.
Cannot knead the bread that needs
baking, feed the cats
and outside
feed the birds, squirrels, chipmunks.
 
No, no, wait.
I am forgetting my
kitchen curtains.
They yellow in the sun
I cannot see.
Here is not—
Time is not again.
Who bakes now,
who feeds now,
who knows where my
kitchen is and what remains
undone there?
Who knows me
when I cannot get my life
back there, there
is my kitchen—Wait.
 
David Anthony Sam has written poetry for over 40 years with two collections. He lives in Culpeper, Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda. Sam was the featured poet in the December 2015 issue of The Hurricane Review and was a 2017 nominee for the Pushcart Prize.