"The View from Grandma's Kitchen" - Bob Ambrose

"The View from Grandma's Kitchen" - Bob Ambrose
Athens, Georgia
October 22, 2014

Day after faithful day 
Grandmother Gilmore rose before dawn 
in a tiny log home, carved into Carolina woods.
Grandpa sleeps 

as she tiptoes to 
her snug kitchen, warm as a womb 
standing by the iron-stained sink 
looking out 

on a weathered well-house 
hard by the side yard oak 
hemmed in by hickory 
flanked by the forest 

in darkness beyond. 
Night softens, coffee perks and oats congeal 
as she stirs and hums her Gospel songs - 
Maxwell House 

Quaker Oats 
and Precious Lord would see her through. 
Did she dream of their life in the city again? 
She lived high on the hog 

for a Hickerson girl 
till God laughed and times turned - 
the good life got away again.
With Peace in the Valley 

the black night recedes 
through shadows and gray 
to one more day much like the last. 
The mama cat 

would be hungry again 
so she scrapes a plate of table scraps 
to place beside the back porch step 
with a dish of milk 

for the kittens to lap.
She butters another pan biscuit 
for the faraway grandchild hovering 
by the kitchen table 

carried aloft 
on comic book dreams. She pours his juice 
in a jelly jar as he bides his time 
to warmth of day 

to find his own way 
through the woods and the fields 
through the toils and the snares 
till he no longer hears 

her own voice in his mind.
But memory bears her blessed assurance 
from over the Jordan in Beulah Land. 
So I rise in the darkness 

a half century on, still humming 
her early morning song, still dreaming 
my way through the vastness beyond 
but perking and stirring a day like the last.

Poem and photo of Jean Hickerson Gilmore and her daughter, Ruth,  originally posted on Bob Ambrose's poetry site Reflections in Poetry.

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