ISSUE No. 6

Clerestory

A clerestory is a window which allows light and air into the body of an old building. Clerestory Magazine stories and storytellers are like windows through which the pain and beauty of the human experience shine.

The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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Kitchens

For my grandmother, fat was a solution,
not a problem: my grandmother’s miracles
employed bacon fat and lard.
Bacon was a breakfast necessity,
with the bonus of grease
to fry the diced potatoes for dinner.
Lard ruled the baking.

Angels would float earthward
when grandma’s oven door opened,
hovering outside the kitchen window
to inhale the aromas of her apple pies,
while we hovered inside,
hoping to be blessed
with an afternoon treat of leftover dough
sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar
and baked to heavenly golden brown.

My parents graduated to the big city
and modernity: piped-in gas; 
running water, not a bucket and dipper;
hot water from the tap, no big pot
simmering constantly on the back burner;
canned and frozen goods readily available.

But there was no quid pro quo:
change does not guarantee progress.
Angels will have nothing to do with Crisco,
nor could they relate to the cans and packages
from which my mother’s pies emerged.
Grandma, like an angel, had no comment.

Old memories resonate as we relearn
what grandmas knew: fresh from scratch is better,
and even more better with butter;
spoiling a kid’s appetite is not a crime.
I long for the day when science will verify
what angels have always known:
bacon and lard are health foods.

C. T. Holte grew up in Minnesota without color TV; has had gigs as teacher, editor, and less wordy things; and got a cool chain saw for Christmas. His poems have been published in Words, California Quarterly, Shark Reef, Pensive, The Daily Drunk, Mediterranean Poetry, and elsewhere.

Discover more from C.T. Holte .