There was a time in recent years past, and for you it may have been in recent weeks or months. It may even be right now, where we sink below the level of comfort. Find ourselves in financial dire straights. This horrified me, like I was always skating atop the abyss of shame. Panic like a rising tide. I remember one day very clearly. The day my friend came over for lunch and all I had to offer was bread and a banana. She sat very calmly at my kitchen table and matter of factly said 'I'd really like banana on toast'. So that's what I made, tears burning, kettle boiling, heart warming. She gave my lack no ceremony, she did not draw attention to it, or decline what little I could offer. She did not patronise me, she did not pretend it was fine. But it was as it was. There would not be feast today, or abundance or cake. Indeed who the heck knew when there would be such times again? But my friend sat with me at my kitchen table, we made bread and water into toast and tea. I'm not sure I have words to describe what I learnt from her that day. But if I do, it resides somewhere in the essence of this poem, which I dedicate to her.
The scattered breadcrumbs speckle the chipped blue platelike art Cold dredges of tea lurk forming a ring around the bottom of my favourite cup (purchased in better times, in a bustling market square on some sunny Saturday). Folded banana skin sits too by the sink waiting till the door closes on her visit.
Reminders that even when there is not much,
there is still something. She showed me how, with a little acceptance,
bread and water can become toast and tea. As my hands sink into soapy suds I know this to be true Because she came and sat with me.