Benediction for a Quarantine Kitchen

By Cara Waterfall

Bless this chicken
with its yellow-fat nacre,
& slip of muscle & vein.
Honour the bounty
of its broth
& trivia of bone.

Laud all things
pared & pungent:
the eggplant’s pomp
in a dribble of oil
& the onion with its
diaphanous skin.

Cull & reclaim
every crumb & cast-off
from the bin, from pork rinds
to the orange’s lacy pith.

the buzzard’s bent nose —
its piecemeal praise,
from bread-crust to sweetbread,
how it savours
each cluster & clot.

Incline toward
the uneaten scraps
steeped in vinegar-reek
& roil: she who knows
the red tin of thirst;
he who hawks
bathtub gin.

In this spring
of our discontent, why
do we hunger
for more?

Like chicks
in a cage, gazing
through octothorpes
of wire, we are
held back
by our own

Ottawa-born and Costa Rica-based, Cara’s work has been featured in Best Canadian Poetry, The Fiddlehead, Frontier Poetry and more. She has won Room Short Forms and Poetry contests, PULP Literature’s 2020 Editors’ Prize and been shortlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. She has a Poetry & Lyric Discourse diploma from SFU’s The Writer’s Studio.

I have three children under eight years old, who did school at home all of 2020, so I definitely felt the scarcity of creative time. But it also made me reflect on how this abundance of time together — albeit the noise — was something I should be grateful for. I wrote this poem in appreciation of what I have: my immediate family in proximity, roof over my head, food on my plate. I also dislike the idea of squandering what, on the surface, might seem like an excess of time spent at home — we can still cull and reclaim the parts of our life we hold dear.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michael Leach
10 months ago

I love this poem! I was drawn to the title, and relished every word that followed.

Pankaj Trivedi
Pankaj Trivedi
10 months ago

Lovely poem!!!

Let us know what you think of the Poetry and Covid project by completing this short survey… thank you!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x