Grief’s Kitchen

First published in Clover #13, Summer 2017, page 106 (without the epigraph). Originally written in October of 2006 for the poet and artist Francine Porad, who died 27 September 2006. + +



“Poetry gives the griever not release from grief but companionship in grief.” —Donald Hall, Poetry, November 2004


Today’s “Jumble” has the letters y, e, r, m, e,

a word you would have loved.

It may mean something else,

but today I leave the letters scrambled.

I read it Frenchly, not as “yer-mee,” but “yer-may,”

and imagine it a fancy weave of cloth.

I want to keep “shuby” as it is, too,

not as some sort of jewel, but a dance step.

And “kipect,” surely, is currency

for a country we’ll never enter

but can pay a visit through that word.

And then there’s “borrek,” which I take

as a cooking implement,

something necessary

to measure leavening.


I am resolved to this,

not knowing today’s “Jumble” answers.

And just then, folding up the paper,

I imagine baking another loaf

of that pumpernickel you used to bake.