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Behind the Stove

Text of Poem

It takes more than wind and sleet to
snuff my candle, my god, at my age, a
kitchen intrigue, to be installed among
the pots and pans, not the parlor where
the owner sits, and she’s no nymph.
A broken basket of odds and ends,
a dark square owl thick in the shoulders,
blowsy hair, sprung thighs, pads on
flat feet between her cupboards, hoots
from her chair, blows coffee in a saucer,
hoards affection, tires from intercourse
with words. Sure, I know all this, I’m
not blind, but, hell, she charms me and
I decorate her wall, chair tipped back,
a kettle still of use, but not worth
polish, I pat her rump as she goes
past and get a dull poke from an elbow
or knife handle as she scrapes the carrots.
I’m an adulterous bastard, while her
husband cuts wood for my fire I
scratch her itch as hooked by love
as any rooster who has caught his hen,
glad to find a spark among the ashes
and make the time seem warm.

First Line
It takes more than wind and sleet to
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Poetry 106 (Sept. 1965) 407.
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