One day you imagine the grandmother you need
and find her living in a Swedish bakery serving
tea to customers in wooden booths on wooden
floors in her sweet and steamy shop where she
feeds your hunger for cinnamon and vanilla,
your dream of comfort from butter and baking, the
yeasty promise of pastry curling and browning.
You ring the bell and a door swings open on a
ritual you make so she can greet you. If she speaks
Swedish you will never know. Her intuition is precise
and proofed in silence. The blend of tea she serves
you cannot tell. Her cures are brewed in brightly
painted pots, steeped in mystery, poured into China
cups on saucers she sets steaming under your nose.
Her intention is to love you no matter what and you
learn to let that be a nice surprise. You learn to trust
she means what she makes you feel, warmed and
wanted, sweetened and safely seated, belonging.
Every time you ring the bell a door swings open and
she is there to greet you until the day she doesn’t
because she is dead. You thought she lived where
she would live forever, but your imagination means
more than that. What she leaves you is the shop,
your place in it, and the mystery of who you must
serve in her absence.
Kelly DuMar is a poet, playwright and workshop facilitator from the Boston area. Her poems are published in many literary magazines, including “Lumina Online,” “Corium,” “Cape Cod Review,” “Kindred,” and “Tupelo Quarterly,” and her award-winning poetry chapbook, “All These Cures,” was published by Lit House Press in 2014. Kelly’s award winning plays have been produced around the US and Canada, and are published by dramatic publishers. Kelly founded and produces the Our Voices Festival of Women Playwrights at Wellesley College, now in its 10th year, and she serves on the boards & faculties of The International Women’s Writing Guild, and the Transformative Language Arts Network. Her new book of poetry & prose will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. Her website is kellydumar.com