for Evelyn, Elizabeth and Janet
Home is the colour of sunlight through the kitchen window,
a lemon-curd glow as day infuses thin air.
I’m inside with my young daughter, crafting a version of love
from cooling figs and a row of gingham-capped jars.
And with each turn of our old cooking spoon, I’m borrowing
maternal lore; making simple transactions of inheritance.
Some domestic artefacts endure in their retelling and
become glory box gifts worth leaving – like this simple spoon
placed by my grandmother’s hands and her mother’s before
hers, deep in a calico-lined tea chest. The kind of old spoon
that carried the heart of a kitchen. Wide-mouthed and generous,
with lipped edges that could curl snug around a single egg
or stir resilience through with servitude when the winds changed.
During weeks that stretched to months when the work dried up,
when tall brown beer bottles kept an empty meat-safe company;
when something could always be made from nothing.
A domestic instrument with a defined use and a dozen undefined
others; a generational orphan, an extension of matriarchal hands.
This afternoon, we measure distances together, making jam and
history, ghosted by the thickening fingers of bush brides.
And as Saturday floats, I am witness to my daughter’s
industry, working beside me with small, deliberate hands.
Day slides away and crickets crowd the night air with an earthly
thrum. From the back steps, the sky turns the colour of eternity.
The Torpey Spoon
1 February 2014