Monday Dec 04

Veach-Poetry Cindy Veach’s poems have appeared in Chelsea, Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review, Carolina Quarterly, Poet Lore, WomenArts Quarterly Journal, Weave Magazine, Sou’wester and work is forthcoming in Midwest Quarterly and Paterson Literary Review. She was a finalist for the Ann Stanford Prize and the recipient of an honorable mention in the Ratner-Ferber-Poet Lore Prize and Crab Creek Poetry Prize. She manages fundraising programs for nonprofit organizations and lives in Manchester, MA.


I Kill Spiders

My husband saves them from me, lowering a glass over them,
sliding a piece of paper underneath then carrying
this delicate sandwich of glass, paper, air and spider outside.
When my husband is gone I kill them,
with whatever weaponry is near—
shoe, tissue, book, The New York Times. I never let them live,
because they will find their way between the sheets,
into the bedside water glass and, when I’m gurgling
and puffing deep in my sleep apnea,
they will go spelunking down my throat.
Last night, I freed a moth caught in a work-of-art spider web
inside our porch light. It wasn’t easy.
The moth was wrapped and glued with silk
as strong as Rhino tape. I had to ransack
that spectacular web with a stick to set the moth free.
Then I watched the spider
gather the remains of his masterpiece,
retreat to the interior of the lamp next to the hot bulb,
huff up like Buddha and start over again,
while the moth flew off happy
to come back in the spring
as a tiny, bright green worm who, along with her buddies,
will eat every leaf in our yard and I wondered
why we think we can change the order of things.

Birthmark Bowl

The past is whining at me as I unload the dishwasher—
GladWare first. Drops of water cling
to the grooves where the lids snap.
I hear my dead grandmother Paquereau say these words:
drip dry, and I see her hose hanging
on a wooden rack in the back room just off the kitchen
[Hamilton, NY house]. There was a beehive
behind her bedroom wall and a bee man came
and made honey right there on our side-
walk. It’s the witching hour. I feel lonely in my kitchen
before my yawing Bosch. I lift out my mother’s dented,
oxidized colander. The one I took [stole] from her kitchen
[Cedar Rapids, IA]. I was young and needed
something to strain my future first husband’s pasta in [he was good
to me but he wouldn’t grow up]. On point, I slide
the cobalt blue ceramic mixing bowl that was an Xmas
gift from my mother-in-law [rest in peace] onto the tippy
top shelf beside the broken-in-two wooden salad
bowl [aka the birthmark bowl] I keep for one reason—
my cousin and I [ten and pre-politically
correct], alone in the kitchen [Bloomington, IN] doing
dishes after a family shindig—shamelessly cracking
up over the dark blemish on the bowl’s bottom. Which
brings me to my grandmother Hazel’s silver-plated
serving spoon which makes me think of a bowl of petite peas
and onions passed around a parquet table [Poughkeepsie, NY]
by a host of relatives who’ve passed. Then there’s
the two clunky clay mugs my kids made me in grade
school [Port Townsend, WA] and one of great
grandma Josie’s Atlas ball jars. So, let the past
be my crying child tonight. I will gladly pick it up
off the floor where it’s been whining and pulling
at my legs. Let it wrap its arms around my neck.
It’s really okay. I still remember how to work like this—
one-handed, one hip jutting out forming
the perfect place for a cranky kid to settle.