Mycelium by Wilda Morris

At Grandmother's Table circa 1948 by Elizabeth Langemak

Taste by Patridge Boswell

Lullaby by Edward Mayes

Shakespeare by James B. Nicola

Summer Night by Diane Giardi

100 Words on My Father with a Big Fish by Jan Presley

Why go to heaven yet by Margo Davis

Roll Over Beethoven by Jonathan Pacic

limnophila aromatica by Susan Soriano

Bantams by Heather Bourbeau

Salt by Carolyn Wells

It Won't Taste the Same by Michelle Morouse

The Fallacy of Comparisons by Paul Lieber

Ode to End of Summer by Wally Swist

408 Dates with Maureen by Gail Bellamy

Taste Testing by Sarah Fawn Montgomery

A Meditation on Working as a Produce Clerk by Ross Stager

Le Fouquet by Elisa Albo

Two Poems by Sarah Paley

Transubstantiation by Susan O'Dell Underwood

Two Poems by Sharon Abra Hanen

Strawberries by Vincent Peloso

Chin Chin by Jessica M. Brophy

Nonpareil by Lois Rosen

Creating Foodie Monsters by Elisa Albo

Foods I Love by Meredith Drake

Three Poems by Terence Winch

Soufflé by Piscilla Atkins

Three Poems by Gail Peck

Under the Kitchen Floor by Bruce Cohen

Spring Peas Come to the Stores by Hannah Fischer

Two Poems by Grace Bauer

Kettle by Susan Kelly-DeWitt

Going to Get Swedish by Carol Berg

Potluck on Sulphur Creek by Brenda Butka

My Mother's Handwriting by Julia Wendell

Radish by Lauren Henley

The Way of the Buddha by Nadia Ibrashi

Famine Bread by Karen Holmberg

Leer Comida by Andrés Catalán

Cooking Show by Gary Mesick

Museum of Butter by Carol Jenkins

Two Poems by Crystal Simone Smith

Yardbird Suite by John Dufresne

Under The Kitchen Floor

by Bruce Cohen

June 2013    

My wife & I have had a long running not-entirely good natured argument about our kitchen floor. The entire lower level of our home is classic hardwood, which I love, which virtually everyone in the world loves, being stylish, timeless, but she wishes we had designed the kitchen with ceramic tiles as a few worn high-traffic spots on the existing wood floor bug her to no end, especially in the frantic minutes just before company arrives. If you drop a wineglass on hardwood it’s a crapshoot whether it breaks, although more often than not it does, but with tile, it’s pretty much an automatic: hence exhibit A—wood floors are better. Cleaning tile, I admit, would be easier, but cleanliness is wicked overrated, the world being a dirty world. It’s hard to live in an antiseptic bubble. The world would be better if there were no floors. We could simply walk on air, without gravity. A full glass of inky wine elbow-knocked from the counter would not fall but rise to the ceiling, out the chimney, towards the clouds, past Mars & other undiscovered stars. No need for stain remover. When you refinish wood floors you have to evacuate the house for a long weekend due to the gaseous fumes. In our house, as in most I suspect, it’s never just one thing. One thing grows into another. If the floors were redone it would evolve into a discussion about a new dinette set, a new paint color for the walls. It would involve sending me to the paint store for samples which we could disagree on, another argument incubated. And. When the paint dries it will appear as a different color from the samples, which is another argument in itself. Thank goodness our arguments are never about love. But is an argument about floors really about floors? As a side note, my wife leaves lights on, wasting electricity, leaves drawers open & jacks up the heat to sauna-like temperatures in winter. In fair full disclosure, in summer, I set the air conditioning to frigid levels. According to my wife, Eskimos would be constructing igloos. Ha-Ha I say. But in the modern world floors are a kind of justification for contemporary insanity. People mostly don’t remember floors, even after a crime-scene murder, or maybe floors should be almost invisible like perfect punctuation or amazingly clean glass. Because this floor-war between my wife & me has escalated from an off handed comment to an all out skirmish, we must, on occasion, walk on or walk over each other rather than the floor. Instead of apologizing during our argument-intermissions we moonwalk out of the room, though neither of us has ever actually apologized for our inflexible beliefs in the floor controversy. When our boys were little I once over-waxed the hall & one of the knuckleheads was running (he was wearing pajamas with feet) & he slipped & fell & according to my wife could have killed himself & my wife accused me of being a bad father, endangering our children due to floor-cleaning carelessness. This wouldn’t happen with a tile floor she screamed, but the little dude’s noggin would be cracked open on a tile floor I screamed back. Thank God for wood floors. I knocked on wood. Floors don’t kill children, children kill floors. If I had it to do over again I would build the house with double floors: one hardwood, the other ceramic tile. During our marriage vows my wife promised she would be happy with my floor selections (excluding linoleum of course) but time changes marriage. Floors become an abstraction of love we could hang our hats on, taking the place of wall hooks. We have come so far in our human evolution—emerging from the primitive non-decision of cave dirt floors to patronizing bars whose floors are strewn with sawdust or littered with hollow peanut shells. When I think of floors I think of Mr. Clean & a smiling, cheery housewife. Sometimes days will go by when we won’t talk or even think about the kitchen floor, but our lives seem hollow & ordinary those days & we both recognize something vital is missing. We pass each other in the kitchen, pour our coffee. One will say the coffee is too strong, the other, that it is too weak. We both know the kitchen floor is not under our feet but under our skin. Sometimes I think, as a third alternative, we should construct a kitchen floor of metaphorical eggshells as though we were walking on eggshells. Our approach to life would be very deliberate. We would compose infinite checklists, ask each other’s opinions on everything. I would like to be buried (after I die of course) under the hardwood floor of my kitchen. What would you like me to do with your body if you die before me, I would say lovingly?


  Bruce Cohen 's poems have appeared in literary periodicals such as AGNI, The Georgia Review, The Harvard Review, Ploughshares, Poetry and The Southern Review, as well as being featured on Poetry Daily & Verse Daily. He has published three books: Disloyal Yo-Yo (Dream Horse Press), which was awarded the 2007 Orphic Poetry Prize, Swerve (Black Lawrence Press) and Placebo Junkies Conspiring with the Half-Asleep (Black Lawrence Press).


Photo used under Creative Commons.