Sunday Lunch

The Autumn Equinox, 2018

 

“Pop down and pick a sprig of mint,”

My mother said

Late one sunny spring Sunday morning

The new potatoes my father’d lifted

Coming up to the boil

 

I picked a large sprig from the patch poking

Under the beech hedge by the oil tank

Where the go-karts and sledges slept

She laughed as I held it up, and maybe thanked me

High above at the Sunday morning kitchen stove

 

More than fifty years ago, when every Sunday lunch

Was roast meat and three veg ‘straight from the garden’

Parsnips, carrots, peas, Brussels sprouts and spuds

Blackberry and apple or rhubarb crumble

– I fumble in a fugue of family and food nostalgia

 

And now she lies half-comatose

Shrunken, spoon-fed soup, in a nursing home

While here am I on a mountain forest road in the rain

Picking wild flowers for our guests again

Coming for a Himalayan Sunday lunch

 

No bone-handled carving knife honed thin

By our father standing at the table head

Finely sliced white chicken breast and we three wonder

Whose turn for a drumstick this time

“You can pick up your bones,” she said

 

I crouch down to pluck a flower

– Desmodium, meadow rue

Names my mother one day knew

But now knows no more

Not even mine

 

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