Bluebeard’s Widow Cooks

By Katherine Flannery Dering

Night and day, you are the one, she sings softly 
as she washes and de-ribs a stalk of celery. She snips 
the pale leaves from the top, then with the peeler slips 
off the long, silky strands; breaks the bird carcass into clumps.
Sunday’s chicken is Tuesday’s chicken soup.

Only you beneath the moon and under the sun. Bah!
Satisfying rapid-fire chops with her largest cleaver
dispatch the carrot. Fresh parsley leaves are stripped 
from the stem. Cleaver ferries green debris to the pot.
Sun, moon—all hogwash, as her grandmother used to say.

Whether near to me or far… Well, he won’t be back. 
And now I’ll need to hire a new locksmith.
“You need to obey me,” he insisted.
“Since when does he get to tell me what to do?”
Wash day on Monday; soup on Tuesdays.

She’s on a mission now. Chop, puree, mix, blend, 
the various buttons say. She picks one and jabs it with her index finger, 
then shouts over its scream, “Now add a dash of sherry 
and a dollop of sour cream. It’s the only way he likes it.”  
“…and the music keeps repeating, you, you, you…”

Katherine Flannery Dering has published a memoir–Shot in the Head, a Sister’s Memoir, a Brother’s Struggle; a poetry chapbook–Aftermath; and individual poems and essays in literary journals, recently in Inkwell, RiverRiver, Tilde, Cordella, and Adanna. She serves on the executive committee of the Katonah Poetry Series and lately divides her writing time between poetry, essays, and a book of short, feminist fables.

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