The second bedroom downstairs

the second bedroom downstairs


you can have the second bedroom


move in your boxes and don’t mind how the crows will scream

at the glory of another sunrise

every damn day

just – put away your books and focus on the light come dappled through the trees

and above you my soft footsteps, the sound of my voice

you can have the left two flowerbeds

uproot hydrangea and daisies

plant carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, all the earth will bear

before winter comes and we pickle the rest

stick your fingers in the dirt and claim this

garden, my garden

for yourself

you can have the mixer, the oven, and the pie tin

I’ve already claimed the fridge and sink, the boards, the knives, and the chair that faces the microwave

make pastry dough and roll it out while I shoo the cat

off the counter for the dozenth time today

feed me cakes and breads and fresh foods from our garden and I will pay in stew, books, companionship

all I ask is the warmth of your shoulder next to mine

washing dishes, and the sound of your footsteps


the empty stomach


bury me in vinegar and sliced ginger on the first day of fall

up to elbows in carrots, cucumbers, sticks of cinnamon and sprigs of dill

she boils the jars and I make the jam, the pickles, the honey lemon sauce

lips tingle and eyes sting, steam floods our senses and the house

we’re taking it back, she says

pickling for the revolution

on the third day of October she brings bananas


they litter our tables and chairs and couches for days until, nauseated

we ask – who for? why this? now what?

and she spins the reclamation of breakfast for kids in Hyde Park and Mattapan

her friend, with the megaphone and three kids?

she needs groceries

banana bread for the massed masses

then come apples

our street spills out with tomatoes, the sycamore trees bloom sandwiches

pancakes on Saturdays at the YWCA in Cambridge

a standing dinner for anyone who asks

Friday night

eat and be full

we stand in the abundance and laugh at pickle jars

still soaking, beets still brining, on the rack above the cabinets

in a kitchen stained with vinegar and steam

DEBORAH PLESS is a writer and editor living in Cambridge, MA. Her previous pop culture criticism has appeared on her own blog and also on Bitch Flicks, and her poetry has recently appeared in Voice of Eve and Quiet.


  1. I have never grown or pickled or steamed or sat on a stool at the counter while a grown one did but feel as if I was right there with the abundance of it all swirling around me. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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