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Monica Cure



We find ourselves in a large house on a hill,
four of us from four directions
summoned by grief.

This house is now yours. You knew
a swing hung from that elm
before we saw it from the kitchen window,
but no less than the rest of us
you rummage through drawers
looking for knives and forks.
All the glasses you find
are different sizes. One
by one you set them out.

We crave simplicity
and someone suggests making an omelet
from the eggs a neighbor brought by.

As expected, a large pan hangs by the stove.
A greasy bottle with an inch of olive oil rests next to it.
A few reassuring cracks echo in sizzles.

But we fail to find salt among the jars
of coriander, cinnamon, and oregano.
Reaching farther back only leads to
cardamom, turmeric, allspice,
bay leaves withered a dull grey.

After emptying the rack,
we realize we’ve overlooked
the shelf with flour. Cornmeal.
Baking soda. Baking powder.

That’s sugar by the coffee maker in a mostly full bowl.
On the dining table, the only shaker
is filled with pepper. You
weep for the first time.

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Monica Cure is a Romanian-American writer and translator currently based in Bucharest. She is a two-time Fulbright grantee and the author of Picturing the Postcard: A New Media Crisis at the Turn of the Century (University of Minnesota Press). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Plume, Black Bough Poetry, and Little Stone.

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