Jamie & Rachel in Liza Lou’s Kitchen

by Janet Bowdan

It feels like coming home
only enhanced—like everything really is
easy, like the advertising illustrations:
housewife in heels, shawl-collared dress with
nipped-in waist and A-line skirt
dazzling beholders as she sweeps dust-
bunnies into a pan. The pan is beaded,
the broom bristles and handle and all
are beaded, even the dust-bunnies are beaded
(and shaped like starfish)

into this kitchen dances the newly
engaged NASA intern ready for breakfast.
Cap’n Crunch (beaded) and blueberry
muffins (beaded) await him; this is
a kitchen in full motion, the beaded
water pouring from the beaded faucet
onto the beaded dishes while the mixer
(beaded) is poised above the beaded batter
next to the beaded cookbook, left open at
the cherry pie recipe (the NASA intern can
bake a pie in the blinking of an eye, but his tastes
incline more to eclairs. How the blue berries twinkle!)
We have set a camera on Mars. The NASA
intern looks out through the beaded curtains:
where is she?

Oh, she is outside, laying the red and white
beaded tablecloth on the table in the beaded grass.
A beaded bumblebee sits
on a beaded flower, picking beads of
pollen up with her feet. More and
more beaded flowers will come of this.

Rachel’s twinkling toes pirouette through beaded grass as she sets
beaded plate after plate in its place. Home-making here
is a game which takes them both: mate, checkmate.
Calling Rachel, he taps on the glass. Barometric pressure is low,
indicating showers. Come in, he says,
and though she can’t hear,
she knows what he wants, and she comes in. What? she asks him
standing on the beaded tile floor.

The pie is in the oven decorated with the phrase,
“women’s work is never done,” a beaded sigh
of the artist’s utter exhaustion, absorption, and finally
complete in this interior, dinner always almost ready.