Sunday dinner, July 1985

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Chicka-chicka-chicka

the pressure cooker prattles

on the avocado stove

while I help Grandma

set the table for ten.

All is green:

speckled linoleum

vinyl tablecloth

tiny flowers rimming plates.

I stack Roman Meal

and sneak a lick of Country Crock before she sees.

Grandma rolls thick dumplings

for the simmering chicken

and cuts them with a butter knife

before dropping them into golden broth.

I love their rich pillow softness

with sharp pepper and salt.

I look out on the garden:

corn reaching tall

tomatoes vining wild

cantaloupe spreading wide.

Our sweet and savory sides.

Grandma turns sheet cake

into Mississippi Mud

with chocolate icing and pecans.

I steal just one nut

and fix the ragged hole with my pinkie.

I turn round and round on the bar chair

kicking my legs

waiting for the family

Sunday dinner to begin.

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