The oven set to 350 degrees, she sautés shallots
and white mushrooms, listens to tree frogs’
relentless chirping. Across the road
in the wetlands, trees brown and bare only the day before
now scatter-shot with pink and white blossoms.
She beats eggs, cream and milk,
rests the whisk against the side of the orange bowl.
Time does a lazy soft-shoe, she’s back in the sixties
with her older brother at that restaurant
where he ordered frog’s legs and went on and on,
dizzy from his daring choice. She told him,
For a no-nonsense, every-hair-in-place
bank manager, you must feel about as wild
as a naked, tripping hippie. He choked on his martini,
shook his finger side to side, electric-blue eyes watering.
She layers bread, spinach, sautéed items
in a Pyrex dish, covers with liquids, lets sit
for twenty minutes. Then sprinkles the strata
with coarsely shredded Fontina making a smiley face.
When he’d taken that first bite, he smiled
and raised his eyebrows, Tastes just like chicken, Sis.
Here try some. Took a long time to make him stop
introducing her as his baby sister. He was grown,
out of the house before she could remember.
Once he brought her Mexican jumping beans,
put them in a pie pan on top of the stove. She giggled
until he told her there were worms inside.
When he served in Korea, he sent aquamarine, kimono-style
pajamas that she hated to outgrow. Not long after
the frog-leg dinner, he walked her down the aisle
and just as she was getting to know him
he died of cancer at forty-four.
Listening to the non-stop chorus, she flips through
cookbooks, reads, Gather (while the sun is shining)
one gallon of dandelion blossoms. She earmarks
the wine recipe for a summer day
when she will dance barefoot on the lawn
toasting the memory of her brother.