“Cinnamon, Cardamom, and My Mom” by Anita Olivia Koester

Cinnamon, Cardamom, and My Mom

Stain the day marigold, stain the dishtowels
with raspberries, stain the newspaper with
coffee rings, stain your white shirt the way
you always did, stain the bathtub with dirt
collected all childhood long, stain my sick
notes with milk souring on the counter, stain
your white pockets red with movie tickets,
stain the ripped towels with our golden dog’s
rain soaked paws, stain our porch brick red
in the summer, stain the bed with my unborn
brother, stain the pillowcases with mascara,
stain us with your expectations, your fears,
your decisions that spotted us like lesions,
stain us, we can spread the burden between us,
we can still stain the day marigold, the soil
at the bottom of the beds has some life to it yet.
We are grown now and the day tastes like butter
that sat out on the counter, tastes like you,
like cinnamon and cardamom, like something
warm you wake up to, until one day you don’t.

Anita Olivia Koester is a poet. Her chapbook, Marco Polo, is forthcoming with Hermeneutic Chaos Press. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in VinylTahoma Literary Review, Unsplendid, HEArt, and elsewhere. She was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize and won the First Night Evanston Poetry Contest. Her writing has been supported by Vermont Studio Center, Art Farm, and SAFTA. When not traveling, she lives in Chicago with her books and her Australian Shepherd. Find her on the web at www.anitaoliviakoester.com

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