I loved to sit by the wood fire and hear him talk.
This time I didn’t come to listen, I came to cook.
We moved into the kitchen, I went first,
shoved stuff aside to make a space to work.

He was too careful and a little miserly,
cutting the mushrooms in thin slices and so few.
I said, “Let’s use them all!” He said, “But
shouldn’t we save some?” I said, “No.
We’re not cooking for mice, they all go in the stew.”

I scattered out all the mushrooms, he shook his head,
“You have no limits, lady.” And began,
slowly, with great care, to slice them thin.
I said, “Do you want help?” He looked askance.
I turned away, walked over to stir the meat
browning in the pan across the room.

I think, how miserable to be married to this man.
As friends we liked each other very well.
Ours would have been a marriage straight from Hell.

~ Frances Tompkins, 1995

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