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.