Claudia Ford

REBEL DAWTA 2: The Kitchen

Formica tables
with stainless steel strips around their edges
yellow tables, the color of freshly churned country butter
glass topped butter dishes
gold-rimmed sugar bowls
plastic paper napkin and matching salt and pepper shakers
marvelous shakers labeled P and S
fat bellied enigmatic short white men
with big red painted smiles and white bakers’ hats
punctuated on top with tiny holes

yellow Formica tabletops freshly scrubbed
matching chairs pulled neatly up
a little girl with her nose just barely above the table top
served a snack of hot cocoa
and thick slices of freshly baked lemony pound cake
from hand painted flowered china plates and teacups

my grandmothers
the toasted brown Cherokee one lived quietly down
a steep flight of stairs in the duplex below us
endless hands of Gin and Rummy and Old Maid
until I revealed my strategy of beating her
through the reflection of her cards in her glasses
and we switched to silent games of dominoes

the chocolate brown African one chit chattering chit chattering
in the third floor of a solid brick apartment building
a riot of noise and plants and knick knacks
ready to lull me into a heavy child’s sleepiness
climbing high on top of the wooden bed with the high headboard
mountainous cushiony mattress and pillows
smelling of starched linens, mothballs, furniture polish and afternoon sunshine
a deep mahogany voice explaining yet again
about Brer Rabbit fooling Mr. Fox
with the help of the mute but dangerous Tar Baby

*From an unpublished work-in-progress: Rebel Dawta: Memoir in Verse




Rain pulses on roofs
and the feathered fronds of ferns.
Light arrives, contracts,
the sunset comes on tiptoe,
hushed into a drowsy
humid evening.
Summer starts,
and gently but firmly moves us
into this great turning
the golden spiral
of our own hearts.


claudia_fordClaudia Ford has had a career in international women’s health and development spanning three decades and all continents. Dr. Ford’s research interests are in traditional ecological knowledge, agroecology, historical ethnobotany, gender, and medicinal plants. She currently teaches Indigenous Studies, Women’s Studies, Environmental Justice, and Environmental Literature. Claudia is also a midwife, writer, and visual artist, and has shared the joys and adventures of her global travel with her four children.