Saturday, June 21, 2014

Laura Stamps- A Poem

A Toast For All The Men In My Life (Except The Ones I’m Trying To Forget)

South Carolina, the first day
of March.  Ostara, our Pagan
sabbat, still three weeks away,
late winter slicking palmettos
and pines with a glittering
glaze of ice, while tulips and
daffodils unfurl from the earth,
colorful, defiant.  “I want you
to come to dinner,” he texts. 
This is the message I receive
when Dante creates a new
vegan recipe.  He’s not a
Kitchen Witch, but he likes
to cook.  And I’m his favorite
guinea pig.  Savory fragrances
pour through his door when
he opens it, and I step inside. 
“This is delicious,” I say,
pointing my fork at the pasta
piled on my plate.  “What’s
in it?”  We’re seated at his
dining room table, the emerald
green one, the one decorated
with zillions of tiny pentacles,
skulls, rune sigils, and Gothic
crosses painted in licorice
black, the one he bought at
an art gallery in the Vista
last month.  Dante is a Faery
Witch and vegan, but he
decorates his house in Goth. 
Who knows why?  I think he
likes the contrast.  It makes
him laugh.  He’s good about
that.  “Zucchini, kidney beans,
red peppers, rutabagas, carrots,
collard greens, pecans, kale,
pumpkin seeds, and tofu,”
he says.  “Tonight I used rice
pasta.  I’m avoiding wheat
this week.”  He fills my glass
with more spring water.  “But
it’s vegan, right?” I ask.  He
looks at me like I should know
better.  I do.  But I can’t resist. 
“Of course,” he says.  Outside,
a ruckus of brittle leaves skitters
across the driveway, the sky
already as dark as the potting
soil in my garden, and it’s
only six o’clock.  Ostara, the
spring equinox, can’t come
fast enough for me.  “Then
what’s in this creamy yellow
sauce?” I ask, licking my
finger.  It’s not nutritional
yeast.  It’s not curry.  But it’s
tasty.  “You’ll never guess,”
he says.  “Butternut squash. 
Bake until soft and then toss
in the blender with honey, sea
salt, lemon juice, white beans,
and garlic.”  I wipe my fingers
on the cloth napkin bunched
in my lap.  It’s an eerie shade
of crimson, embroidered with
lavender skulls (of course). 
“Cool,” I say.  “I want this
recipe, okay?”  His smile
flares as bright as the summer
sun igniting the petals of
a daylily.  “Done,” he says
and tears open a rice flour
roll, smearing it with cashew
butter.  I raise my glass.  “A
toast,” I say, “to men.  They
make good friends.”  He taps
his glass against mine.  “Men
are good for more than that,”
he says.  I stab a plump carrot
with my fork.  “I’m trying to
forget the bad stuff,” I say. 
He nods while he hands me
a cashew butter roll.  “True,”
he says, “there is that.”  

BIO: Laura Stamps is a Pagan novelist and poet living in South Carolina.  Her fiction and poetry have been nominated for seven Pushcarts and appeared in many literary journals, including Curbside Review, Half Drunk Muse, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal, Mannequin Envy, Poetry Motel, and Word Riot.  She enjoys creating experimental forms for her prose poems, blurring the line between fiction and poetry.

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