My Grandma Creates the Earth

by Katherine Hoerth

In science class, I learned the earth was made

from dust and gas leftover from the sun’s

miraculous creation, that it scraped

together pieces of itself and formed

a feast of sea and land, of sky and life.

But none of this made any sense to me–

I’d studied the geography of worry

on the pages of my mother’s face,

the tilted axis of her head, a bend

of frown, a river bed around her eyes,

the canyons of her forehead as she’d find

once again month than dollars tucked

inside the somber cavern of her purse.

I’d come to understand that folks like us

made do with what they had inside their pantries:

scraping the empty peanut butter jar,

mouthfuls of stale bread, saltines with ketchup.

But how could something beautiful be born

of scraps, of what another threw away?

One autumn dusk, my grandma came to visit

on the last day of September, filled

the kitchen with her presence and the bustling

sounds of cooking—whisk on pan, a hiss

and cackling of oil, a bang of pots.

She emptied out the sack of flour, cracked

expired eggs into a bowl. She poured

a swig of sour milk and toasted bread butts,

declared the miracle of Sunday supper,

created from the nothing of the cupboard.

Pancakes rolled, a gold expanse of prairie,

a hill of butter, rivering with syrup,

fluffy clouds of eggs, plateau of toast

smeared with sanguine jelly. Grandma gazed

at my hungry eyes, my mother’s smile

as she came home from work to find this feast.

Grandma sat down at the table, sighed

said grace, and knew that it was good.