Outside the back door, facing down towards the stream,
there’s an old, empty building…. straight out of a dream.
Not far from the house, it’s where kids use to play,
but now it’s all broken and dying away.
If it could talk, there’d be volumes to write;
all stories of love from morning to night
stories of the noises and smells and the heat,
the flies and the dust making each day complete.
It was only one room but the center of life
where the food was all cooked by the farmer’s good wife
on a stove that belched heat baking bread for a meal
making hot days much hotter; thoughts of winter…. ideal.
But it kept all the messes out away from the house
like the flies and the cats and probably each mouse
that was lured by the smell of fresh cheese in the air
like the cats who were lured by the sight of gray hair.
Before fans and air conditioners, summer kitchens there were
with their wide open windows to easily transfer
all the heat from the cooking and boiling water, for the clothes,
from the big copper canners that were lined up in rows.
The farmers in their dirty clothes in the ‘kitchen’ could eat
and talk of their machines and the plight of their wheat
to the beat of the screen door banging open, then shut;
and the cry of “don’t let the flies in” from the depth of mom’s gut.
From the cistern came the water….to the canners… to boil.
then into a wringer washer….mother’s next place to toil
before getting out the ironing board so the clothes could be pressed
and before heading to the main house…. for a good night of rest.
The summer kitchen served to keep the main house cool and clean
throughout the summer’s days of heat and the storms that came between
by keeping all the heat and mud and messes in one place
and also all the family…. close in love’s embrace.
© copyright 2013 t. j. gargano