A stove-checker from way back,
like my mother before me.
Yet we have our own accord,

the stove and I. On most days,
we part with a familiar
ease, and not without humor!

The burner knobs seem to wink
their goodbyes, hurrying me
along – Looking SMART, Geri!

I confess there are bad days,
those mornings when I am seized
by doubt and rush back, panting,

late already, but needing
to check one more time, those knobs,
as I do today. A week

of wrong trains and strange bridges.
(I’m on the M! Not the F!)
A dubious decision

involving a man. The wrong
man . . . The stove also strange now,
its burner knobs black, sullen,

inscrutable. I stand here,
rooted in my place, watching
it dare me to turn my back.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 Number 9, on page 28
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