On My Mother’s Table | Memories

by Elouise

A graceful old table
With fold-down flaps
On each side
Beautiful scrolling
Along the edges
Sitting there in the kitchen

A small old kitchen with
Room to turn around
A small pantry adjacent
Beneath the stairway
Window looking out
Above the porcelain sink
With ridged sideboard
A walk-through kitchen
With four doors
Impossible to miss or get lost
Handy and quick to reach

There on the table they sat
In their permanent space
Neatly arranged on a medium-size
Round tray never messy always tidy
Kept just next to the wall
Out of the way not in your face
Part of the scenery
Normal things needed daily in
My Mother’s kitchen

Salt and pepper
A sugar bowl and bottle of creamer
Instant coffee and paper napkins
Or were they paper towels
I’m not quite sure
Vitamins and minerals
Aspirin and toothpicks
Small round Rx bottles neatly arranged
At least a dozen sometimes more
Coming and going as needed
New and old as prescribed
One on top of the other
For the latest pain or muscle discomfort
Carefully labeled and marked with her name
Mother’s name only not anyone else’s
Her cafeteria of pain-killers and relaxants

Old friends from polio days plus
New friends added to this
Growing collection of pills or
Were they drugs?
Multiple doctors with multiple solutions
A potent mix of ingredients
For multiple ailments in multiple periods
Of her pain-ridden sleep-deprived life

Sitting neatly on the table
Ready at a moment’s notice
Would you please bring me
My phenobarbital and a cup of coffee?
Caffeine and barby doll her friends for life
But at what cost?
Drugs free from a friend’s prescription shop
But at what cost?

* * *

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 21 July 2015