Dried shrimp drift along surface of gumbo
Simmering above low flame where reluctantly
Aromatic steam traces up
Into my clogged nose, opening
Passages, reminding me when
Mother sliced onions with sharp knives.
Clenched arthritic fingers struggled,
Chopping white squares, diced so we did
Not notice. But I did. Tears long gone
When father, late, came home mad. Sun
Downing, orange ball behind purple clouds,
Rain coming soon sometime tonight.
She, anticipating, cracks crabs,
Careful to remove broken chips,
Lumps of meat plopping into brown
Rued water with cayenne pepper.
Later, our father sips spoonful,
Hot with fillet sprinkled on top.
She talked, we listened, he ate.
Paul Medus is a reader and writer and once was a teacher of both. Living in Cajun Country all his life has kept him close to his family and dearest friends. He first earned B.S. in Economics and Finance from McNeese State University in Lake Charles. A few years later, a career change led him to also earn a M.A. in English and a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He reads translations of Javier Marias, a Spanish author known throughout Europe and now reaching into the United States. Currently, he is writing his third novel, Homework, a first person narrative that explores the identity and culture of people who call Acadiana home.