I open the oven door for a pan of
Portuguese rolls when there is a
knock at the back door,
the kitchen door and it’s Effie.
She knows that she’s welcome to
stay for a spell but still she hesitates,
sit, she shrugs her coat
to her shoulders and pulls out
the chair at the end of the table; she
can reach the door from there. She
never knows, she told me that once.
People turn, snapped her fingers,
just like that. Nobody looks crazy,
she adds and then lists
a couple of exceptions that wander the
town when the homeless shelter
locks its doors at seven. Effie is not
homeless, she has a room and a
kitchenette, a shared toilet, the landlord
is on a first name basis with
her social worker, Effie’s rent goes
straight to him.
What’s left she struggles to make
last; a month means different things
to different people.
Those pears look good.
She nods to the over-flowing bowl of
fruit in front of her.
Help yourself I say.
She takes two,
one for each pocket, she says, winks.
And the smell of baking bread
floods the kitchen and the timer cries,
Bing bing bing.
Lenora Steele lives writes, gardens, hooks and cooks in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. She is inspired by voices like Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson and Catherine Banks.
Her short prose and poetry have been published in periodicals in Canada, UK and the US in periodicals such as Event, Cranog Magazine, The Fiddlehead, Room, Eastern Iowa Review, Wow, The New Quarterly, The Antigonish Review, Sunspot and Grain, among others. Works have been reprinted in Monitor Books, California, An Anthology of Magazine Verse and Harcourt Canada’s, Elements of English 11.
Steele’s work has been supported by The Canada Council for the Arts & The Nova Scotia Arts Council.
With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.
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