Inside the vintner's stone house,
by broad windows open to the sky,
the white grand piano glistened
in a standing shimmer of winter sun.
Music called my name, and I,
in my adolescence, bowed to her,
the muse I’d chosen to love.
I asked the vintner's daughter
and she assented.
As my fingers remembered a waltz,
I stood still before the shimmering.
I could not dare—
music's steady gaze held me there
and my failure to dare holds me still.
A Madeleine of Peaches
With a bow to Marcel Proust
Rhubarb stalks, squat and ruddy,
diced, honeyed, set to stew—
fresh-picked peaches skinned, sliced and syruped,
set on the burner to brew.
My mother's glass Mason jars shine,
The past is about to congeal.
The time approaches to fill these jars,
wipe the rims, and set their lids to seal.
The scent of the rhubarb and honey—
the slip and syrup of peaches—the heat
of the stove and the kitchen swirl. To my mind,
my mother appears, the images compete—
she, in her assisted living suite—
I, miles away—a kitchen new to me—
this recipe hers—these fruits, her planting—even
these jars are hers, my madeleine, my tea.
I see her gardens' sweet produce, her patience,
foresight, plans. She focused my tasks, my days.
She fostered pear and peach trees, raspberries, rhubarb,
asparagus—marigolds and zinnias—bouquets
that lit her rooms—her pleasant smiles, the warmth
and sweetness of her presence—the reservoir
of grace she drew from.
The tick-tock stopped,
the alarm rang, and I turned to filling jars.
DAVID ANDERSON was raised on Rocky Dell Orchard, near Newcastle, in Placer County’s Loomis Basin. After retirement from UC Davis, he returned to his first muse, writing. Some of his poems appear in Brevities, California Quarterly, Epiphany, Liturgy, and Song of the San Joaquin. He complains that the muse mumbles and he doesn’t hear well enough to catch it right the first time, so he revises and revises.