Popsicles on the front porch, sun settling into the hill,
darkness descending like the sugary juice down my arm.
Taco salad, bean tacos, beef, chicken, Korean, fish;
soft and hard, sometimes on Tuesdays, always delicious.
My grandmother’s macaroni and cheese, served alongside pork
chops, dipped in applesauce; this is my youth, my memory, too.
Haluski, cabbage rolls, pierogi upon pierogi,
sauerkraut on the first day of the new year, for luck;
brown sugar sweetened but their lips still pucker.
The ribs their father makes, following his mama’s recipe.
He is known for them, at the fire station, at home;
it is one of his masterpieces, beloved by all.
Salads without dressing, though this is of their own doing.
Absurdity is what it is, but they happily crunch along.
Shrimp at the beach, four ways. Peel and eat, skewers,
in the pasta, over grits; their father and their uncle,
a Bubba Gump operation on the shores of North Carolina.
Waffles on Christmas morning and other holiday delights:
My stuffing, even though one claims not to like sausage.
That deep fried turkey, so golden and crisp.
Cookies, cookies, cookies, cookies.
Homemade pizza, every Friday; kneaded by hand,
rolled out and baked on a stone in the oven.
Pepperoni half for one, mushrooms and banana peppers the other,
cornmeal scattering across their plates, the table.
New recipes, three or four a week. Some flops, like the
sour lemon rice, others added to the rotation, instant favorites.
I joke, “If I love you, I will cook for you,” but
it is the truth; food is my love language, one I hope
they’ll remember me speaking when they take a bite
of something, long after I am gone.