Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lord, Let Them Eat Cake

The line that grabbed me--instantly--in this poem is the one that says, "knowing your sisters will drop by and say Lord yes/they'd love just a little piece;" in those sixteen words, my entire childhood flashes before my eyes. My mother had seven sisters; all of them amazing cooks, and at least three or four of them had a freshly made cake on hand every single time I ever visited. The sisters were always dropping in on each other and the standard answer was always, "Lord, yes, I'd love just a little piece." In their rich Alabama drawl, "Lord" had about three syllables; it is one of my favorite "sound memories" and one that still reverberates in my brain and makes me smile, years since I sat eating cake in any of their kitchens.

The other line that grabbed me was "Everybody should/drink coffee with their nephews," because they should, but I never get to because mine live hundreds of miles away. In a perfect world, I would have coffee with my nephews (okay, tea; I don't do coffee) once a week. But we all know the world is not perfect, and I think that is, finally, why I love Ginger's poems so much. She takes our imperfect world and ekes out whatever goodness and beauty she can find. And as I read somewhere, fleetingly, this morning, "There is goodness in every day, no matter how bad it seems."

2010 Poetry Parade: Day 21

Down on My Knees
Ginger Andrews

cleaning out my refrigerator
and thinking about writing a religious poem
that somehow combines feeling sorry for myself
with ordinary praise, when my nephew stumbles in for coffee
to wash down what looks like a hangover
and get rid of what he calls hot dog water breath.
I wasn’t going to bake the cake

now cooling on the counter, but I found a dozen eggs tipped
sideways in their carton behind a leftover Thanksgiving Jell-O dish.
There’s something therapeutic about baking a devil’s food cake,
whipping up that buttercream frosting,
knowing your sisters will drop by and say Lord yes
they’d love just a little piece.

Everybody suffers, wants to run away,
is broke after Christmas, stayed up too late
to make it to church Sunday morning. Everybody should

drink coffee with their nephews,
eat chocolate cake with their sisters, be thankful
and happy enough under a warm and unexpected January sun.

From An Honest Answer (Story Line Press, 1999)
Used with the author’s permission.


Joe Sottile said...

I think Ginger Andrews did write a spiritual poem. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wish Ginger had a webpage or blog to comment on. I found her wry sense of humor and faith delightful. So much so I ordered her books online. The one came from Goodwill Industries of Southern Oregon. I am sure she could turn that into a poem, too. If she reads these comments, I hope she'll look me up, I'd love a dialogue or add her "link" to poets I like on my own blog.