Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Lament to Old Appliances” by Pamela Washington. Ms. Washington lives in Oklahoma.
Lament to Old Appliances
My oven, a 1960’s model, doesn’t bake.
Even though I tend it carefully—checking constantly.
I take its temperature
When the mark on the box and my thermometer agree—
My lover puts in the bun.
But it seems the mere opening of the door
Screws up everything.
The bun won’t rise and the oven self-cleans
Trying to rid itself of anything clinging to its walls.
I spend another night in my lover’s arms crying.
Poet's Notes: This work came from a dark place I went through with a friend who desperately wanted to have a child with her new husband. She was older and struggled with infertility. I came to dread the monthly calls I would talk her through.
One day, she called to tell me she finally had a “bun in the oven.” The conceit came to me immediately, and I started jotting ideas, writing the poem in one sitting. I have done very little revision to the original. I let the metaphor carry the frustration people feel when their body parts do not work properly. Moving beyond childbearing years is an emotional moment for most women.
Editor’s Note: What a perfectly executed poetic conceit with clever but tasteful use of double entendre throughout. Raw, yet tender, the poet addresses the devastation of infertility head on but tastefully, artfully.
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