I used to work with a pastry woman named Gilson, and she became a dear friend of mine.
When OUR careers got to the point that we chose separate paths, we still committed to meeting together.
More often than not we'd meet, drink coffee and exchange poems with one another.
These moments were the spring board for what would later be refereed to as the Kitchen Poets Vault.
The KPV became a collective of Food Industry people that merged with the Twin Cities literary crowd.
Over the years the KPV has hosted readings in bakeries, sponcered pot lucks, and baked pizzas together in brick ovens.
None of this would have ever started if Gilson hadn't inspired me with her powerful work.
OK, this poem (written by her), in my opinion, depicts her voice.
PASTRY CHEF LOST
Wearing a disposable infant diaper
Her cat lies on the bakery office floor staring blankly
He is at once ethereal and macabre
Mary Margaret rolls out puff pastry across the long floured table
Plastic credit has been used to pay
For the blood transfusions, the forced feedings
He is the mate of her soul and she will not see him dead
She says it is that time of the month again, the flow heavy, the cramps painful
Customers have complained about the chocolate chip cookies
So she makes a new batch, the same larded recipe of her grandmother
She tells them that these are made of butter believing they cannot tell the difference
She is the first of four Marys, the sisters to four Joesphs
Slowly each cupcake is lifted
The frosting massaged over the top again and again
She thinks this is the love but it is really desperation
She moves across the kitchen, La Tortuga, her steps sluggish and slow
During the long nights in front of the ovens
She drinks the boxed wine purchased to make the soup stock
The freckled Irish morning face has dulled and slackened
She says sorry she forgot to take the bread dough out of the cooler last night
The cat dies, the customers do not return and this morning
She lies drunk on the cafe floor
The croissants crushed, the cakes in the pastry case upside down
She is bare, the contents of her stomach on the bathroom floor, left for the angels to clean