Shinnying up My Life
by Ruth Bavetta



I once sat on the roof of our house
painting the fascia board between my knees,
stopping to look at the snow flashing
on the mountains across the valley.

In 1978 I broke up a concrete patio
with a sledgehammer, used the pieces
to build a wall to keep the mud
from washing across the garden.

I have knitted wondrous sweaters,
alive with color, the patterns forming
under my fingers as I thought them up.
I have sewn dresses for my little girl,
shirts for my husband, curtains for the house,
and once, for myself,
an orange velvet dress frosted with gold.

I can make a blodtkake with spongecake, whipped cream,
marzipan and sherry, or with the same ingredients
conjure a zuppa inglese. My spaghetti sauce
is renowned among my friends.
My gravy never has lumps.

I have in my jewelry box, keys
from Sigma Xi for science,
from Phi Kappa Phi, from Phi Beta Kappa.
I have three college degrees. I always
won the 4th grade spelling bees.

I can stretch a 5 by 6 foot canvas,
pull it taut and smooth, gesso
and sand it, paint a still life so real
the oranges drip juice. What else
can I do. What else can I do?
What else can I do?





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