The Kitchen

Sharing a meal at the BVS house in Elgin

Friends share a meal at the BVS house in Elgin, Illinois

By Katie Cummings

In my house
When I want to be with
Someone
I come
To the kitchen
And I sit
At the kitchen table.
Organically people may
Emerge—
Stretching on the floor after a run,
Shuffling pots and pans for dinner,
Reading a book in the glorious sun.
It is the heartbeat of our home,
Thumping to daily rhythms.

In the midst of cooking,
The kitchen becomes—
A stage
Our impromptu dance parties
Filling the spaces between
Linguine and cheddar cheese

With a warm cup of tea
And a listening ear—
I’ve stepped into
A therapy session
The linoleum floor bouncing back
The sacred words of our hearts.

With a hefty bag of thrifted finds—
The fluorescent lights reflect
The dazzling uniqueness of
A fashion show that only cost
Ten dollars.

In the heart of our home—
The kitchen

Our dancing stage
Can easily deteriorate to
An arena.
With a warrior on either side
Poised
For a death match.

The vibrations of the floor
Reverberating
Angry words and weighty sighs—
Slammed doors and broken conversations.

The fluorescents illuminate
The cracking pieces—
Shining lights into the deepest,
Darkest,
Most selfish parts of
Ourselves.

And yet,
Those four walls
With open cabinets and an
Alphabetized spice rack—
Hold us—all.

As we come
To the kitchen table—
Angry with housemates.
Disappointed with work.
Fists clenched.
Jaw tightened.
Something—happens.
Our hands open,
Reaching across the table
To hold another.
Fingers unfurl—
White knuckles regain their color.
Jaws relax,
Exhaling prayers
And
Inhaling the love inside
Homecooked food.
Eating brown rice or white,
Coconut curries and
One-pot-wonders
We slowly find our way
Back
To each other
To self.

The kitchen holds us—
Maybe better than we hold
Each other
Because
The heartbeat of our home
The kitchen
Is that place that
Grace lives.

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