Daughter in the Kitchen

by Francine Witte

is watching her mother whose eyes
are windowed with tears. Damn onions,
the mother says, but the daughter knows
better. She knows that the tears are for
the husband/father who left last week,
who took his cufflinks, his clothing,
but mostly his scent. The daughter doesn’t
know yet how she will be sniffing the necks
of men her entire life for her father’s cologne,
the starch of a crisp white shirt. The mother,
on the other hand, is very aware and has taken
to cooking to clog up the air. Her hand doming
an onion now, the knife moving swiftly. The
mother sniffing back tears. The daughter
standing by and watching the onion give way
like the soft skin of a heart.


Francine Witte is the author of the poetry chapbooks Only, Not Only (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and First Rain (Pecan Grove Press, 2009), winner of the Pecan Grove Press competition, and the flash fiction chapbooks Cold June (Ropewalk Press), selected by Robert Olen Butler as the winner of the 2010 Thomas A. Wilhelmus Award, and The Wind Twirls Everything (MuscleHead Press). Her latest poetry chapbook, Not All Fires Burn the Same has just won the Slipstream chapbook contest and will be published in summer, 2016. Her poem “My Dead Florida Mother Meets Gandhi” is the first prize winner of the 2015 Slippery Elm poetry award. She has been nominated seven times for a Pushcart Prize in poetry and once for fiction. She is an avid iphoneographer. A former English teacher, Francine lives in New York..

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