Under the Kitchen Kami’s Eye
She put the mushrooms on to soak
as the day wound down
and evening neared.
There were times where powers,
and magic faded away
before the older rituals of pot and fire and knife,
and being priestess of the family hearth
counted more that exorcising youkai.
Pushing a wisp of dark hair back under her scarf,
she looked down at her table with calm gray eyes.
Knife in hand,
she sliced the tofu and spring onions,
put them on the side,
checked how the rabbit was roasting on its skewers,
grated some daikon,
got the greens ready to simmer,
and for a minute, paused
as she sat there, in her kitchen kingdom,
mistress of all she surveyed,
under the watchful eye of the kitchen kami.
Nudging the fire in its pit,
and adding another stick under the kettle,
she thought of the wonders of her mother’s kitchen,
all those things she once took for granted.
Then she thought of the man
his silver hair trailing behind him,
his amber eyes smiling,
coming home to eat his dinner
and the laughing child who would be in his arms,
that the best rice cooker to be found
in her mother’s world
wasn’t worth one of their smiles.
And, as she gave the soup stock a stir,
contemplating the ways of food and love,
and how they bind,
the door rattled,
and a cheery small voice exclaimed
A deeper one, smiling, said,
“Smells good - must mean Mama wants us home.”
Catching her husband’s eye,
she nodded once
and simply said, “Always,”
then hurried them to clean up and come eat.