Elli Samuels is a poet living in Texas. Her latest work is featured or forthcoming in Wingless Dreamer, Pif Magazine, Horse Egg Literary, and Maudlin House. She is a cookbook author with sweet spots for running, yoga, ranunculus flowers, and a stellar cup of coffee.
House Plants in the Window
Pushcart Nominee 2022
You wouldn’t know that I saw your house plants through the window, as we drove through a
stunning stretch of Washington state, me thinking teal-green Formica for your kitchen table,
diner-style salt and pepper shakers, the nearest counter corner piled high with a mix of coupons
and important papers. Your bathroom’s blue, the shade often described as “not a cloud in the
sky!” The back door—red and peeling a bit, proclaiming a long time since someone felt the least
bit obsessed to correct its condition. I believe you love knick-knacks—a small wooden Buddha,
porcelain birds, maybe, an antique ceramic cow creamer. And, books, and potted plants like a
Snake, an Aloe, a Jade—the kind that don’t need much attention. And I surmise, for the front
room, two fat-as-a-good-hug recliners, close as dog or cat siblings like to lay. Facing an old
console T.V., which I did glimpse, showing a rerun—a black-and-white classic, like “Leave it to
Beaver” or “Lassie.” All this, around half-past six, while I bet you were getting ready to fix a
down-home dinner—a stew, still-warm corn muffins, and a brown sugar buttermilk tart.
Not, that you would know.
There is nothing I enjoy more than sitting at the kitchen table, twists of steam lifting
from our second cups of coffee. Tales we relive— like vintage editions:
that millpond flat day flooded by needle-sharp rain.
our taste buds’ first brush with a tres leches croissant.
and teatime in ferned branches of that ancient oak tree.
Do you remember speaking Gibberish? The smack of the screen door in summer?
Apple season turned into day-long excuses for baking?
Every reminiscence, for me, soothing as the sound of a regular rainfall.
I’ve never told you, but at the end of my day I pray—for our memory centers
to be tireless as roots with their jobs to do. Miles we take hold of—
dead winter walks in thumb-numbing cold, traveling for the sole purpose
of finding fine food… Miles we could never actually re-traverse—
like a concerto recorded—and every so often, performed.