Today, Kathleen Zeisler Goldman reminds us that we never really travel far from childhood’s territory of misunderstanding between sisters. What could be more benign than sharing apple pie and coffee—and, in the hands of a poet, what more fertile ground is there for renewing rivalries?
I’ve managed to offend my sister
because I reached for the coffee
I made, instead of her apple pie.
It’s a fine apple pie—flaky crust
sweet apples, cinnamon—just right.
“I sure do make good coffee,” I say.
I should have said, “I love you.”
I should have admired the china,
the new tablecloth, the company silver.
She finds me difficult, accuses
me of choosing the dark,
the earthbound and shade grown.
She bustles from the room in search
of angels, though she says it’s for sugar
to sweeten “the damned coffee.”
Alone at last I sip my brew,
my bitter, my corrosive
and uncertain coffee.
Mother, grandmother, retired teacher of young children, Katherine Zeisler Goldman lives in California with her husband of 40 years. She is currently in the process of publishing her first volume of poetry, Down River, due in late 2014.