Saint Sebastian in the Kitchen

Saint Sebastian in the Kitchen / Linda Lobmeyer

Dicing the onion and pressing
the garlic, the butter bubbles
in the skillet, smelling like warm
and home and heartbeats, skipping
against my own chest like the ticking
of time, without compression. Searching
the spice rack for thyme, I’m stirring.
The warm smell rises, reminding
me of untapped memory.
Behind my eyes I see Saint Sebastian
pinned with arrows, miraculously
alive, but then clubbed to death
in the sewers. We never wonder
what’s at the bottom of the drain
unless it begins to stink.

Our kitchens counters are cluttered
with shards of glass from a metaphorical
fist through the window. No one cleans
up the symbolic spills. We pretend
the dry oatmeal we can’t swallow
is as good as anything we’ve
ever tasted. We invent new rules
to obscure the ones we won’t follow.
We sharpen the knife we’re given,
to split the apron in two, half
for me and half for the starving
cloud of witnesses.  Saint Martin of Tours
is praying for us before the meal
half as warm as he once was. 

After we’ve eaten and no one
is full, we sing the songs we learned
in our showers, a  daily routine,
like the bells for the Angelus.
I can hear Saint Cecelia singing
from the bath, then her voice is masked
by the shoosh of warm water,
the machinations of the dishwasher.
I stare at my own reflection
in the kitchen window, then turn away.
The sight makes me sad, but I’m growing
in detachment. Trying to escape
the pride that sends you to hell.

And beneath the altar, they pray for us,
singing with me even when
I forget the words, a lazy
malcontent strapped to a rack of ennui
and unused beliefs like a jar
of molasses, opaque on the shelf,
Pray for us. 

Saint Sebastian in the Kitchen: Copyright 2023 by Linda Lobmeyer. All rights reserved.

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