Something about slow cooking;
onions first, chicken broth,
tiny meatballs for the kids.
Israeli couscous, basil,
garlic, fresh parsely,
chives, carrots, celery.
Everything in the pot.
Three Balthazar baguettes,
the first sliced with plastic butter knife.
The last two ripped into pieces.
Extra chairs folded and pushed against the wall.
Tables tipped over, legs kicked in and locked flat.
We talk quietly.
String curtains between
walkway and play area.
Open children’s Bibles to “The Singer,”
nativity coloring pages stacked near the
crock pot. Crayons, markers, and glue sticks
in the clear box next to construction paper.
Something about chai from the Mud Truck
the sound of the Wasko girls
as they run down the stairs to play
shark and minnows, Carter’s laugh
when Kendall catches Emma.
My phone blinks red near the crock-pot.
Mackenzie checks in Alicia, Kiali, Elijah,
Jameek and Majesty. They arrive with Sarah,
bundled in bubble jacket, Dora hat, magic gloves.
Shark and minnows dies down. They color
Christmas trees and draw Santas before
shuffling upstairs for Joy to the World and First Noel.
After announcements the kids are dismissed
and race downstairs to wash hands
before dinner. While grownups sit in pews,
Jameek sets bowls at every place,
Kiali fills up water. Emma and Elijah
tuck napkins next to plates, Majesty
passes out bread. And one by one,
they file up. I fill their bowls,
Fern blows on Carter’s spoon.
Mackenzie asks Alicia about her week,
Sarah wipes spilled soup near the table.
We clean up together, and split up for stories,
about how we weren’t made to worry.
The flowers and birds
are fed and are clothed, and does anyone
want to talk about that?
We call on raised hands,
pray when we’re done,
then pull out the crayons
and the glue sticks.
After coloring, cutting,
pasting and signing
the seats can’t hold them
any longer. The games begin,
the service ends, then the kids
get bundled back up.
We sweep up the trimmings,
pass out finished projects,
and take down the curtain divider.
Craft box is repacked, kids leave one
by one, and I pass by my phone as I’m
cleaning. When the last kid leaves, and
we are mostly packed up, I carry the crock-pot
to the sink. I turn on the faucet and drizzle
soap, my hands disappear in the bubbles.