Oct/Nov 2004 Poetry Special Feature

The Nature of Things

by Barbara De Franceschi

The Nature of Things

I study my fingers
held close to the open fire;
they look like stalks of rhubarb.
I remember how the same fingers
were slapped to the same shade
of crimson for defiantly dipping
bread into a brown pool of gravy.

Dad absolutely forbade my tiny fist
to follow soggy crust lumped
with undissolved flour and onion bits
into a mouth full of boldness.
Use your knife and fork!
was meant to spoil the slurping pulse
suckled fingers knew by instinct.

But my grandfather taught me
to question the restraint of frontiers
that hindered spontaneity and how
to wipe a plate clean with bread, butter
side up, gravy on the lean.


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