Measured Extravagance

2001-06-10 - 10:44 p.m.

I'm sitting here sipping a glass of wine, cringing at the prospect of being up much later than I want to be tomorrow night, because I should have done laundry today, and didn't. I meant to organize my notes this afternoon, and haven't.

On the other hand, I'm feeling much better physically after several solid nights of sleep and multiple naps, some with the cat and one with the Beautiful Young Man. It's a very luxurious feeling, napping away a Sunday afternoon. . . I've also washed several sinkfuls of glassware, knives and pans (and loaded the dishwasher twice): for Friday night dinner, I made a mushroom and onion gravy to go with the polenta the BYM had purchased earlier in the week; yesterday, we had beef broccoli over bulgur; tonight, I steamed and fried pork-and-bok choy wontons.

At the moment, I have a sour cream chocolate chip cake in the oven that's about five or ten minutes from being done; it's the result of purchasing a tub of sour cream for chicken fajitas two weeks ago that weren't made because the chicken smelled off when I finally got around to unwrapping it.

When the cake is done, I'll turn up the temperature to 400ºF and slip in a pan of cornbread batter; that is a result of my greasing-and-flouring two cake pans for the cake recipe when it turned out one was sufficient. (On the other hand, given how much the cake has risen above the rim of its pan, perhaps I should have used two pans after all. Cook and learn. . .)

This won't be your southern or northern cornbread, by the way - since it's going to have to be reheated (that, and I was trolling for a quick recipe that wouldn't require an trip to the store) I decided to scrap authenticity altogether and mix together three different types of grain (corn meal, bread flour and whole wheat flour), skim milk and onion-flavored schmaltz. (If it doesn't work, we can feed it to the dog or the birds.)

I almost blew off the baking tonight, having concluded that it would have been more prudent just to write off the superfluous sour cream as a loss, the better to focus on getting ready for the week ahead. However, after I successfully diverted the BYM from his correspondence, I wasn't in the mood to analyze sales or launder pantyhose, so I started to jot down this poem, since the first three lines had formed in my head as I drifted in and out of sleep this afternoon. Then I got stuck on line five, and that's when I decided it was time to make a cup of tea, and as I was pouring the hot water into my mug, my guardian devil whispered, "Wouldn't you like a slice of cake to go with that tea?"

So here we are an hour later - on my second mug of tea, my second slice of cake, and a finished draft of a poem for this month's Poetica-Collab:

Thé à Tête

The tea leaves in your hair?
She sprinkled them there
as you were sleeping
so that when you step
across the steep hours
you think of her butter
and the brown of her hair
and the flecks in her eyes
and the depth of her stare
reflecting your own
as you drink her tea.

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