Grace Willis

Grace Willis studies English Literature at Missouri State University in the Ozarks of Missouri. She has previously published work in Novus Literary Journal as well as Roadrunner Review.

Spatial Awareness

My mother taught me how to cook mushrooms.

Don’t

      crowd them

she would say.

It’s quiet in the still frame of air-conditioned mid-July,
in the white-washed walls that smell like fresh paint,
in the echoed hum of five-hundred unfurnished square feet.

While you sleep on a king-sized mattress in the next room
I lay the mushrooms carefully in a pan, two inches apart
so that they do not cry
                    and become waterlogged and grey with proximity.

They sizzle to brown crisps and I wake you gingerly with coffee.
We eat on the floor in the pale light of afternoon.

I cook rice that evening. My mother tried to teach me
how to make each grain full and soft and entact,
                                but I never listened, rushing ahead to a boil and now
each grain is a broken ball of glue, burned black in the bottom of the pan
and in the next room there is a mattress and a cup of cold coffee

                                                                                           and that is all.


NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN