Each morning we sat on your couch as quietly as we could
because you would not tolerate anything else.
We had eaten and dressed and packed our own lunches
as our mother got ready for work.
We came through your back door, through your dining room,
to find our seats on the sofa,
witnesses to the intimacies of your family morning.
You padded softly in slippers and robe
while your husband sipped coffee
and your daughter threw fits
about the color shirt you chose for her,
having to brush her teeth,
that she hated peanut butter and jelly.
I remember the way you wrapped their sandwiches in waxed paper,
sandwich in the center of the sheet,
ends brought up and
three times folded over
before gently smoothing it flat,
folding the edges like Christmas paper on a box.
I remember you handing the bagged lunch to your husband
and how the two of you shared a kiss each morning.
I remember the gentleness you showed them
and the glares and harsh words my brother and I received
if we giggled or dared to quarrel on your couch.
I remember wishing for Mom and Dad
to be together in the same house
and kissing in the morning.
Our life was not a neat little packet wrapped up
and held in a brown bag,
but we had waxed paper too.
It may not have been used every morning
but on special occasions
Mom would roll out the pie crusts between the translucent sheets
three perfect delicate crusts
given to crumbling easily,
a family recipe
passed through three imperfect generations,
the one thing which elicited praise
from my father.