Dream Poem of Mother Over and Above
Her Kitchen-Skill Capacity

Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow


In the dream my always limelit, coral-lipsticked
master mother chef presents
at the dining table, the white, pleated toque

set rakishly atop her head. Her helper hand
clasps a knife steel. Etched
upon the steel, these terms:

If you brandish it, somebody will
challenge it, I guarantee you.
The business hand holds fondly some glinting thing.

With the gray steel wand chef begins
the bewitching curves
of sharpening.

Do eyes beguile in dreams, or does the metal declare
itself as the broad-arched edges
of a solemn soup spoon?

Why on earth is chef sharpening this tool?
If fully inside my mouth
it would filet the velvet cheeks to ribbons.

But why dream this emergency room melodrama
when there is so much curable else
to contrive in the back-hoarded drawers of my own stuffy

bedroom with its four fat corners
of chocolate-wept profiteroles,
boxed high, high to the skin of the ceiling.


Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow is the author of Horn Section All Day Every Day, a 2020 Phillip H. McMath Post Publication Book Award Finalist, and The Day Judge Spencer Learned the Power of Metaphor (Salmon Poetry, 2018 and 2012, respectively). Honors include: the Red Hen Press Poetry Award, Tusculum Review Prize, Willow Review Prize, a Beullah Rose/Smartish Pace Prize, and three Pushcart Prize nominations, two of which were nominations from the Pushcart Prize Board of Contributing Editors.


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