Mother laid out a spoon, but Father
wanted fork– the four-legged fist,
jellyfish with backbone, preying mantis
refusing matins, no time for grace
though grace abounds, his stainless spine,
stiff fingers–to eat the anniversarial cake.
Forty years. And we all watched
Mother take the spoon–the dipper,
the scoop, empty shell on a stick,
bucket for rain splat, lady slipper lip,
half a beak to his one-legged chicken, mirror
in a cradle, sand shoveled monkey-wobble jello,
mussel husk, her baby’s first dig to China,
the Jack Sprat between them.
And we all watched her lick the ladle clean.