****took a break from fighting the government about my Rx to write this prompt.****

send prayers and positive energy


i wondered of the woman

who sat in the kitchen

still warm from baking babka

same hands that clasped

her rosary coated with  flour

held painted pages of saints whose faces

became sticky from sugar

her fingers and lips prayed in silent rhythm

i wondered of her

daughter of immigrants

who gave up throaty dialect,

cyrillic alphabet

and personal space to settle

as a common family

rather than communists

i wondered of her

as she sat at her sewing table

with rows of rainbow bobbins

stitching delicate borders into eyelet curtains

while i tinkered with boxes of buttons

left over from childhood plays and dances

i wondered of her

wanted to understand how her history

flowed through my veins

how it made me cherish

tradition, motherhood and sweet bread desserts

while my head was bowed in prayer

i wondered of her

i Googled Ukrainian woman

and pictures appeared

with painted pouted mouths, spread thighs

and instructions on how to pay for poviya

i cried for them

for her

not my babusya

my grandmother

not the woman who placed

safety pins on the inside of my undershirts

warding away evil spirits

not the woman who

woke at five am

served breakfast at seven

while baking sweet bread for after supper

stopping only to tell me stories of lost buttons

dot my face with kisses


i wrote this

so you could inhale her spirit

which was the essence of cold cream and powdered sugar in warm kitchens

surrounded by rainbow bobbins and buttons

which all had a story

never to be sold or discarded

 i no longer have to wonder of her

© michele mitchell 2011, 2014

Poetry Prompt:

Photo credit:


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