Yellow Pencil and Cream Cheese
Uncle Barry would fill in the squares
of the Times crossword puzzle with a yellow pencil
while aunt Lilly was making
her weekly batch of cream cheese.
She had left a bottle of milk on some sunny
windowsill for a few days until the contents turned sour
then, carefully separating off the whey
she poured the curds into a muslin cloth
and knotted the top, leaving the bag to drip into
the sink until the sour mess solidified softly
into creamy cheese.
The taste was wonderful as was the notebook
we found after they both passed on containing Barry’s
penciled poems and Lilly’s delicate
We never discovered what went sour in their
relationship causing them to separate after
so many years; he moving to a retirement home
and she going to live with her widowed sister.
But the penciled poems and colorful flowers
remain with us as a testimony to their
mutual love and collaboration.
And the cream cheese was the most delicious
we’ve ever tasted.
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© Johnmichael Simon