Looking Glass Sheila Sondik after Maxine Kumin Nothing surprises me more than my reflection in shop windows, elderly now, but certainly not like the aunts of my childhood. I’m never caught wearing a babushka or plastic rain hat, the coverings which protected their heads from perm-ruinous showers and the winds of change. I was their sensitive but willful niece artistic intelligent hating ballet and loving ponies rejecting authority ready to stand up for what seemed true at whatever time and place the struggle required. One side of the fence saw me exulting, the other begging for chocolate kisses and honeyed apples.
The Joy of Cooking Sheila Sondik after Maxine Kumin I will write my biography in recipes: the whole wheat pie crust filled with parsnips, the casseroles, pastas, stir fries, and those blintzes from my childhood like ones the rabbis prescribe for days of dairy and desperation. I have baked cornbread, casseroles, kugels, and braided challahs. Most of these enthusiasms had their passing eras, just as my husband’s beards came and went. Picture all the meals together laid side by side in a football field. I’d like to fly a camera drone high overhead to examine the tableau for its hidden meanings. The colors, aromas, and flavors assemble a text as esoteric and multilayered as the ancient scrolls with dessert as the last word.
The Understory Sheila Sondik after Linda Pastan That red fungus cup over there on the wet black fallen twig is lighting up the duff telling us something about whimsy making us feel almost hopeful while the mosses wave their capsules about and in spite of the dankness of early March the days continue to grow into something approaching a diurnal benevolent grace we’re not at all sure about but eventually we can’t deny the unstoppable turning towards the light.
Sheila Sondik, poet and printmaker, lives in Bellingham, where the landscape is a constant source of inspiration and solace. Her poetry has appeared in CALYX, Bracken, Raven Chronicles, Kettle Blue Review, frogpond, and elsewhere. Egress Studio Press published her chapbook, Fishing a Familiar Pond: Found Poetry from The Yearling, in 2013. She loves gnarly word puzzles and is a member of the National Puzzlers’ League. The poems above are Golden Shovels, a form invented by Terrance Hayes—the last words of every line in a Golden Shovel, read in order, comprise a line or lines from another poet.