Making Stew – Step One

The kitchen

My father, hunched like a bear in his corner chair

Battered grey metal teapot

Three bag tea? Or just two?

Old oak table, the altar of our home

Upon it, holiday and mundane meals

Butcher hogs, steers, deer from the hunt

– one time a moose that Dad and old Bert used

in a rare practical joke, the horror in believing

those hooves, those long dark legs

under a tarp on the wagon in the yard

belonged to our chief horse

our eyes, my brothers shocked to tears

‘stop crying. go look’

the punchline being

to believe the evidence of your eyes

regardless of rumour and fear –

the table scarred by knives, rasps, nails

grooved and stained down into the wood

here we learned cribbage

and other lessons in how

to win, to lose, to employ

psychological warfare,

to honour the game

‘these are the things’

my father’s tagline for

pronouncements

and provocations regarding

politics, philosophy, the great

mystery of spiritual truths

tricks and defenses, trust and betrayal

discernment of integrity

proof, faith, and how to sharpen a knife

the precious need to bear in mind

lives sacrificed for our consumption

but I was talking about making stew

which I learned to do in our kitchen

big square heart of our home

everything happened n the kitchen

and that’s where I learned to make stew

let me tell you about it

it was like this …

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