By Timothy Walsh
Arabella’s Arsenal

Every morning, when she walked along the lake
just after dawn,
the great blue heron would be standing
on one of the docks,
unperturbed by pedestrians or passing cars.

She saw the heron as herself—
wary, long-legged, and solitary.

Back home, the kitchen was her arsenal—
potato masher, garlic press,
salt shaker, pepper mill,
knives, ladles, slotted spoons….

In the basement, she hung her husband’s shirts
from hangers like tender effigies.
She loved him best when she watched him sleep
or when she could make him eggs.
Sometimes, all alone, she longed to feel his weight
upon her,
but at night she longed for sleep.

Late at night, she’d awaken and wander
the moonlit house.
In the kitchen, the stove looked like a seated god.
Wooden spoons whispered among themselves.
Droplets dripped from faucets like pearls.

In the cutlery drawer, knives, forks, and spoons
lay in quiet collusion.
By the dim green light of the cold stove clock,
she’d lay out a line of spoons
and an opposing army of knives.

Sometimes a mouse would scurry across the floor,
and then the secret melody of time
seemed strung together of nursery rhymes,
her own life fleeting
as the quick glint of a knife.

Trivet, spatula, and wire whisk.
A wife is what they called her,
but a heron is what she was.

-This poem first appeared in Inkwell