In a halfway sleep I remember
as I do every early morning,
that sound carries in this aging house.
It is why 6am brings not the silence
so desperately clawed at by sleepfulness
but the heavy clicks of a gas stove
an ignited match
a sudden baritone whoosh
and the rushing gust of naked flame.
I’m not in the kitchen
where now my mother’s long day begins,
but I can imagine her routine vividly.
clickclickclick whoosh, rush,
clang (a metal pot), soft snip (scissors,
plastic milk bag),
and at this point I can’t hear
the milk’s soft fall
but somewhere a sound passes under my mind.
Poured, it rests,
A plastic knob is turned backward,
flame recedes into twinkling metal holes.
Milk sizzles, the pot is hot.
My mother picks it up, used to
the short-lived flare.
Boiling, white, cream,
in my daze I can
conjure the liquid’s touch on dry hot metal,
The milk reaches the lip of the pot and hesitant,
a shivering moment.
falling paint glues solidly into three ceramic cups.
A million chattering droplets
Bubbles waltz slowly on the surface.
Mother takes the pot to the sink,
and the twin cups watch in fascination
as she turns another knob,
water rushes, cold on sighing steel.
The next poem begins, caffeinated.