At Nine, This Is My Church
Aunt Helen’s house smells like the end of summer:
old wood and tobacco, dust and lilacs.
Nearly noon and the butter-yellow walls
of my aunt’s kitchen glow with amaurotic sunlight,
sharpening the gleam of anything in my squinted sight-line.
From my mother’s lap, on the only chair that isn’t
rigged with a broomstick planked with doughy strips
of egg noodles in all stages of drying,
I watch my aunt lean her heft
over the doddering wood table,
her body rocking the dough to submission:
roll, roll, flour, fold--roll, roll, flour fold.
Her wadded knuckles, bent against the butcher
knife, slice out consistent thin ribbons,
her plump hands so graceful and deliberate;
each rolled slice unfurling to noodles and laid across
the floured rack to dry. And their talk,
murmured in unison with the knock of
knife to wood, that rumbled intimacy that sisters have.
She nods, lowers the first fist of noodles into
the salted pot of water, nudging her wrist against
her dark tousled hair, in her shortness of breath;
asks if I’m hungry yet.
©Lorraine Henrie Lins