Becca J.R. Lachman

If I Had It In Me, I’d Make a Grocery List Worthy of My Century

Organic chocolate nibs, star fruit in Ohio’s
January, or swirl of ancient grains.


If I had it in me, I’d write my list
worthy of maternal bloodline, chilled


glass rolling pin in motion, meals for
men whose fields stretch their bellies.


Descendent of a dinner bell still rung.
Inherited plates all washed within minutes.


What beautiful tablecloths I come from!


For now, all I can do is crack the last egg.
Wash a spoon. Find the crunchy peanut butter.


Oh, ancestral apron, I’m done pretending
as long as my table’s full. You might never


forgive me for this; I’m working on not caring.


Your tall oak icebox, first brought by horse
and wagon, fit perfectly into my hatchback Prius,


as if meant to see this house still betting
on three placemats. To hold, for now,


not milk jug or chicken legs, but shelves
of holiday cards, framed photos, new drawings


from the oldest nephew: what’s been searing enough,
this year, not to keep too close, not to throw away.


Didn’t I say?


There are wasps in that dinner bell
nearly every summer.


It’s the fifth year of my body’s empty field.


And I’m hungry all of the time.



Becca J.R. Lachman works in the magical land of public libraries and lives in Athens, Ohio. Editor of A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford (Woodley Press), she’s also the author of two poetry collections: Other Acreage (Gold Wake Press) an ode-elegy to her family’s 1840s dairy farm, and The Apple Speaks (Cascadia Publishing House), which explores being a wife and daughter of loved ones doing peace work in war-torn places. Recent poems and essays appear in Connotation Press: An Online ArtifactJournal for Mennonite WritingConsequence Magazine, and Image.

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