The ancient paint peeled off our kitchen cabinets
in the wet heat of that summer,
a year after my sister was born,
those days before she could walk.
She opted to pirouette
around the kitchen’s island, the pitter
of her pattering feet pulsing through her baby patois.
The oven’s scent would spiral out, spreading itself,
watercolor on the house’s walls,
tickling a four stringed riff out of dad’s college days’ guitar.
Now the oven is hers, the cabinets redone.
She patrols: beating bowl lickers with a wooden spoon.
But perhaps, if, some summer afternoon,
we should tread so softly that our back stairs stay hushed,
we might hear her feet, unashamed and archless, pattering out
a tiled pattern, entrancingly inaccurate, until by the smell
of burning batter, we are, to this timely world, returned.