Lobster Bake

My father swore the secret was the seaweed.
Donning his custom “Bakemaster” apron,
He’d first dig out a pit in the driveway,
Then lay a fire in it, setting each split log just so.
Next a half barrel, of uncertain provenance,
Appeared each year and was settled on top.
Bricks were laid in the steel bottom to retain heat.
Then came the seaweed, dampened with a garden hose.
My father swore the secret was the seaweed.
Next layers of offerings from Poseidon, Neptune:
Lobster, steamer clams, fresh from the dock,
Followed by butter and sugar corn, new potatoes, yams.
With each layer kept separate from the rest
By a buffer of seaweed, dampened with a garden hose.
My father always swore the secret was the seaweed.
Then the whole epicurean treasure chest was covered in burlap.
My father, and my cousin—the bakemaster’s assistant—
Attended to the fire, to the moisture level of the burlap.
While woodsmoke and steam lazily entwined,
we kids were press-ganged into cranking ice cream,
Taking turns with vanilla, chocolate, and banana.
When Dad announced the feast ready for the masses,
And kith and kin, family and friends, had gathered,
He’d preside over the table and intone:
“May everyone have it this good.”
Then butter dripped from claw meat and corn cob,
And compliments flew.
But Dad dismissed the praise, with a smile and a shrug.
The secret, he’d say, is in the seaweed.

© 2022 Rebecca Bigelow (text)
Image by inuyaki.com from Wiki Commons

The Germ of an Idea

Wuhan seemed deserted, abandoned—
All hidden behind closed doors—
Surveilled and quarantined, while
Holding the attention of the world.

Yet, as we held our collective breath,
Our vain hopes for containment went
Unfulfilled, as the virus spread to
Regions, and then countries, beyond.

Did we really think this tiny crown,
As it stowed away on hands, in coughs,
Might obey our commands to halt—
Not to cross our border?

How naïve, or perhaps ’twas willful ignorance.
And now, while we should be concerned, there’s
No need for panic, no time for casual racism.
Disease spread can be slowed, even prevented,
Simply by following the advice herein.

©Rebecca Bigelow, March 6, 2020

A Bit of Doggerel

It’s Valentine’s Day—at least for a few more minutes. If the checkout line at the grocery store yesterday is any indication, lots of people got stuffed animals and big pink cards covered in glitter (lots of glitter) in my town today. I tend to prefer a more low-key day (because I am too frugal to see much point in buying a card for eight bucks that will be looked at once!), so my day was perfect for me: No grand gestures, just dinner with my husband and son and a chance to Skype with my daughter who is away at the moment. Spending that kind of time with loved ones is definitely my idea of a successful holiday. Whether you celebrated romantically with a partner, as part of a family gathering, with a friend or two, or just enjoyed alone time, I hope your day was as perfect for you as mine was for me.

Although my Valentine’s Day was lovely, there have been some irritants in the last couple of weeks. What better way to slay those dragons than with a bit of fluff and fun? I think I’ll call this collection Poems from Cranky People. Writing them made me feel better. I can guarantee these little bits of verse will not end up on a card you can buy at the grocery (not in pink, not at any price, and they are definitely glitter free), but perhaps they’ll make you smile.  Enjoy the last few minutes of the holiday!

Foreshadowing by Rebecca Bigelow

Each February we pretend
That some rodent can portend
The duration of our wintry state.
But I wish it would prognosticate
Something of more import.
So if, in fact, we must resort
To using a groundhog named Phil
To predict the future, then he should spill
Whether we will suffer, over our objections,
At least six more months of politics and elections.

Lightning Bugs by Rebecca Bigelow

A light glows briefly in the dark.
And like the mating call of a firefly,
Another answers it.
And soon the lights are twinkling.
Some flashes last mere milliseconds.
But some can be measured
In moonlights and cups of cocoa.
And I wonder why
It is so important
To check your damn phone
In the theatre.