The Kitchen by Soonest Nathaniel

The Kitchen

These days it is deliberately kept dark
and silent, the broken teacup
still sitting near the empty sink.
I open the refrigerator
and instead of food
it is stocked with debts
and bills and suits.
There are gray bowls
in the orderly cupboards,
but they are filled with nothing.

I am hungry, but no gas
to start a fire,
the kettle is dry,
the tap is thirsty;
I would give my little finger
to hear again the voice of water.
This used to be a room
where music was cooked,
then when it belonged solely to my mother.
When she baked the world for me
I vamped on an imaginary piano
my father etched on the kitchen table
and the fridge always hummed
like a chorister with helpfulness.

The dishes are clean, the drawers are locked.
Father would not allow anyone to open it,
but I am no longer a child
So I pull them open like a mortician,
secrets lay lifelessly on the platter
like corpses in the trays at the morgue.
I unearth them.
They speak of those times
when there always were shards
of broken innocence littering the floor.
I remember those times
when the cats
would tirelessly chase shadows.
I want to raid this kitchen,
and rid it of those unearthly hours.

I begin
by pouring
the remaining smudge of regrets
out of my grandmother’s jug
into the patched sink,
then I fill the gray bowls
in the orderly cupboards
with the blood of berries,
grains of laughter
and the essence
of sublime moments.
This kitchen must return
to being the room
where music is baked,
this glass of silence must be broken
by the applause of running waters.
I will fill the propane gas
and fix myself a pot of coffee,
I will give my left eye
just to watch kingdoms rise
again from my mother’s teacup.

Soonest Nathaniel is a multi-award winning poet, journalist and spoken word artist. He is the author of “Teaching Father How to Impregnate Women,” selected as winner of the RL Poetry Award. This Rhysling and Pushcart nominated writer was Poet Laureate for the Korea Nigeria Poetry Festival. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Rattle, Off the Coast, Silver Blade, The Pedestal Magazine, FIYAH, Ilanot Review, Rockford Review, Evocations Review, The Elevation Review, Tulsa Review, Lit Lite One, Idle Ink, Icefloe Press, Northridge Review, Qmaker, Headline Poetry and Press, Coffinbell, Praxis Online, Raven Chronicles, Wiki Column, Saraba, Loudthotz, Reverbnation, Elsewhere, The Elephant, Scintilla, Erbacce UK, Kalahari Review, WRR, Sentinel Nigeria, and many more.

Image credit: An old kitchen ( with an antique, slightly recolored retro teacup ( sitting on the sink’s edge.