Fiddlehead Ferns:
Bacon, butter, hollandaise, leeks, lemon, nutmeg, olives, shallots.

Culinary Artistry

"I basically don't exist as a capitalist" She said. "I don't have a car, I don't go to work." She keeps company with men who use words like vestiges and confounded in everyday conversation. The line of tables by the window is full of playwrights and activists and full notebooks. The playwright maybe is the physicist, though, and how would I know the difference? So here is our cast of characters: the physicist, the anthropologist, the poet, and the lawyer.

The anthropologist leaves. As he packs
away his work we all eye his table--right by the window, flush with light. I slip into his chair, bumping against his toes as he heads for the door. Exit the anthropologist.

I ask the poet the time. The end of his scarf, the very tip, floats in his coffee. I mean to tell him, but there is so much to distract: the lawyer heaves a great sigh, my pen taps my teeth, I have spilled crumbs in one straight line from the old table to the new. I am covered in sticky light.

There was a boy genius today, after all. He walked through the library, all of twelve years old, looking up at the girl he led. He would show her the library. I will orient you to this place, he said. His hand lay on her shoulder; his arm extended straight above his wheaty head. But he walked like a man and talked like a man. He talked like a man entrenched in Academia. He wore a furrowed brow, a sardonic eye. I met them in the stacks later, where I was hopelessly lost. I had spent near an hour stomping up and down metal steps. All doors marked 'exit' led me to places where people carried folded metal tables and gave me the

I passed them as they were passing a service elevator. He glowered at the shelves. This is F-H, he said. Where it gets a
bit, he snickered then, a bit more organized. He knew where he was going. If he had designed this library, exits would be clearly marked. He would carpet the steel steps to avoid the sound of footfall, any sound at all that might disturb the ruffle of his brow.

As it happens, the only exit is on the fourth floor.

The physicist could have told me that. He looks as though he spends all his time in the stacks, dreaming of and addressing neurons. None of us here in the window exist as capitalists. We are only good for trails of crumbs and the draping of clothing into full glasses.



To have got the whole Barnacle family together would have been impossible... wherever there was a square yard of ground in British occupation under the sun or moon, with a public post upon it, sticking to that post was a Barnacle. No intrepid navigator could plant a flag-staff upon any spot of earth, and take possession of it in the British name, but to that spot of earth, so soon as the discovery was known, the Circumlocution Office sent out a Barnacle and a dispatch-box. Thus the Barnacles were all over the world, in every direction--dispatch-boxing the compass.

Charles Dickens- Little Dorrit

Imagine: Somewhere in a small town, in the basement of a square, brick building, there is an office. This office may be dusty. It is lit by one florescent bulb that glows midair, suspended by bare wire. Floor to ceiling, corner to corner, boxes and binders rise in stacks; sheets of paper, crumpled otherwise, slip to the floor. In the center of the room we find a table, a pad of paper, and a telephone. In a metal folding chair beside the table a woman sits. She has come down the steps, removed her coat, and folded herself into the chair every day for 17 years. The phone never rings.

A few days ago I had dealings with a bread maker. I don't work with appliances--although a nice blender has made my life a happier one--but this wasn't for me. We both knew it, the bread maker and I. I knead dough by hand, I give it privacy, let it rise. This machine was for my father. Together we would conspire to fill his life with bread!

0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00. Blinked the bread maker. I unplugged it. I plugged it back in. I pressed all of it's buttons. I pummeled it's sides (searching for hidden switches). What happened to our cahoots? All those cahoots we were in?

0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00. 0 00. 0:00.

Then I saw it. An 800 number. Yes, the Royal Pro Bread Making Company has a helpline. Since 1992 they have been waiting to help us, all seven of us that still own and operate Royal Pro Bread Making Machines.

She is there somewhere, in the basement of a courthouse, or a cabinet factory, or a meat packing plant. She is next to the boiler room and every time the furnace bursts into life, every time someone opens a new vent, or a window, her bare bulb buzzes on and off. Her card table shakes. She props up a foot to keep the telephone from bumping itself onto the floor.

She knits what will be the world's largest snow cap. She estimates that by 2020, 2,730 people will stand in a football stadium, and with all of their heads they will wear it. The tassel alone will measure two yards in circumference. Glory, then, shall be hers.



In every pocket he carried pencils, pads of paper
together with crumbs of bread, the accidents of life.

Czeslaw Milosz

Remember the big bird cakes of our youth? I would like such a cake. To small, thick fingers in superman icing!

Today is grayblue, a bit smug, and cold. Today will look you in the eyes, despite what you told it when you were waking. Today should be a day for picnics and small flowers pushing their backs through the soil, but it never does listen to what I say.

At my elbow a feather crinkles at the edges. I have carried it from continent to continent, so it has the right. Other things at my elbow: A string of cloth birds from India, Cherry chapstick, a broken cell phone, a dime. The dime spent a few weeks in my pocket, wandering a bit I'm afraid. Surely to the dime it felt like floating in circles, or there and back again. I took it out last night and laid it on the table. Everyone was sipping tea but D, who likes to let his tea cool on the table until he forgets it.

D: (whispering) Do we have any wigs in the house?
Dad: Yes.
D: (still whispering) Where?
Dad: In my makeup room.
D: Don't be sarcastic, I'm trying to find something. I think B has some wigs in the basement. I'm going to go look for one. Will you come with me?
Me: Absolutely I will.

This morning I marched bleareyed to the kitchen and found his full cup of tea on the counter. The poor bag wrinkled just under the surface. Deflated it was. It, too, would like a cake please.