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Pancakes

2009 January 30
by Anne Heraghty

My heart throbs.
It could be thick supermarket coffee or
thoughts of you following me down aisle three
where I catch my hungry reflection in the freezer door.
There is a twofer on waffles.

Maybe you prefer pancakes-
a slippery square of butter sliding right of center
real maple syrup rivers running, a taste too pure for me.
They make pancakes for the microwave now.
I wonder if you would like those.
Your wife probably makes them from scratch though
I like to think she cheats
a bit with Bisquick.

I can see you after breakfast in bed,
the scar above your left ear dark
against the hotel’s crisp white pillowcase
a drippy grin on your mouth.
We’ve met just this once because
she might cut corners in the kitchen but
that’s as far as it goes.

I don’t know how I will ever see pancakes the same again-
a billowy short stack looking just like the pillows,
the syrup your brown skin
and that pat, buttery smile.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. January 30, 2009

    Anne: all morning as I drove around after taking the kids to school, this poem was on my mind. It would be difficult to say exactly what I was thinking about it, except to say that the poem hit me so hard that I could smell those pancakes; I could see you look at your reflection in a grocery store’s 3rd aisle, and I have never seen you or the store. In short, this poem took me to a place I have never been, maybe too close, and for that I can thank you.

  2. Joseph Bastow permalink*
    January 30, 2009

    Marvelous! I love the way the finish melts! So many fine lines here. I especially love the close up of the dark star and cutting corners in the kitchen . . . only. Great work.

  3. January 30, 2009

    And there is more, always more. There was a line I was looking for that describes how I felt when I read your poem, and it is here, submitted to me by co-editor Joe Bastow. It appears in the Poetic Glory quotes: “One enters a poem to be changed.” Well, I think you did it. I neglected to mention that when I encountered the word “twofer,” a lot more happened than almost falling out of my chair, gasping for a handle on this side of here. I think someone bought my ticket for Albion. I’ll be there before dark.

  4. Ned Bastow permalink
    February 3, 2009

    What makes this poem work for me is it’s setting. I have just returned from the supermarket, where I mindlessly acquired the food items I needed, checking my list frequently, as the aging will do, totally unaware that I might become an image in a thoughtful and deeply suggestive poem like this one, crafted by a forty-something woman (or man) pushing a nearby shopping cart.

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