Sundays, fried dumplings
My mother’s scent comes toward me —
Sweet and soft, baby powder under Jean Naté.
At the kitchen table, she kneads and shapes dough into dumplings.
Her dark hands stir the flour and water in the plastic bowl —
A piece of goldenrod Tupperware,
Scored and scratched and shoved unkindly
Into the cupboard each Monday
Only to reemerge each Sunday,
A vessel glorious with purpose
Gleaming in this bright Brooklyn morning.
She gets up slowly, heavily;
The aluminum chair scrapes softly against the linoleum.
She drops the circles of raw dough onto
A pan sputtering with Crisco and canola,
Watching the edges of the batter bubble and fry.
A thin golden bangle twinkles on her wrist
As she pries up corners, checking for doneness.
I watch her from the living room, greedy, envious —
She, the only one of us powerful enough to resist
My father’s weekly death march to church,
Standing in front of the stove in a nightgown and robe
While I itch in my Sunday finest.
I trudge out of the apartment,
New shoes echoing in the concrete hallway,
My footsteps following behind me.
I carry her soft smell, sifted with flour and fat,
Through the stench of the dog-pissed elevator
And all the way to the church.
I sit in the worn red velvet pew
Dreaming a dream of fried dumplings
Mouthing someone else’s prayers.
By Wayne Myers-Taylor
Wayne Myers-Taylor divides his time between writing poetry and short fiction, teaching yoga, and updating websites. Previously, he was a journalist at Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and other media outlets. He lives in Northern California, but Brooklyn is his home.