This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Barbara Crooker.
This was a day when nothing happened,
the children went off to school
remembering their books, lunches, gloves.
All morning, the baby and I built block stacks
in the squares of light on the floor.
And lunch blended into naptime,
I cleaned out kitchen cupboards,
one of those jobs that never gets done,
then sat in a circle of sunlight
and drank ginger tea,
watched the birds at the feeder
jostle over lunch’s little scraps.
A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow,
preened and flashed his jeweled head.
Now a chicken roasts in the pan,
and the children return,
the murmur of their stories dappling the air.
I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb.
We listen together for your wheels on the drive.
Grace before bread.
And at the table, actual conversation,
no bickering or pokes.
And then, the drift into homework.
The baby goes to his cars, drives them
along the sofa’s ridges and hills.
Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss,
tasting of coffee and cream.
The chicken’s diminished to skin and skeleton,
the moon to a comma, a sliver of white,
but this has been a day of grace
in the dead of winter,
the hard cold knuckle of the year,
a day that unwrapped itself
like an unexpected gift,
and the stars turn on,
into the winter night.
Barbara Crooker‘s work has appeared in many journals, including The Christian Century, Christianity & Literature, The Christian Science Monitor, America, Sojourners, Saint Katherine Review, Windhover, Perspectives, The Cresset, Tiferet, Spiritus, Assisi, Dappled Things, Ruminate, Rock & Sling, Radix, and Relief. Her books are: Radiance (Word Press, 2005), winner of the 2005 Word Press Poetry prize and Finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, 2006; Line Dance (Word Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press, 2010); Gold(Cascade Press, a division of Wipf and Stock, in their Poeima Poetry Series, 2013); Small Rain (Purple Flag, a division of Virtual Artists Collective, 2014); Barbara Crooker: Selected Poems (Future Cycle Press, 2015); Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017); The Book of Kells (Cascade Press, Poeima Poetry Series, 2018); and Some Glad Morning, forthcoming in the Pitt Poetry Series (University of Pittsburgh Poetry Press), fall 2019.
Ordinary Life was originally published in Selected Poems, by Future Cycle Press.