A Taste for Life & Other Poems by

The Heroines Among Us

Family members hold a bit of power in our lives and they can choose to have that power be used for good or evil. Ann Christine Tabaka writes about the incredible women in her life, her Babcia (Grandmother) and her Mother, who helped her survive violently abusive alcoholic father & grandfather. These seemingly small acts of loving, saving, and protecting make the everyday heroines that walk among us.


A Taste for Life

My Babcia’s tiny two room apartment,
a refuge in turbulent times.
A retreat from harsh reality.
I can see it in my mind.
Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.
Polish and Jewish part of town.
Bakeries, butcher shops, churches, and parks.
Streets always crowded.
Invariably the same journey,
train, then subway, then walk,
and walk, and walk.
Forever it seemed.
Trudging up three flights of narrow,
well-worn stairs, as rickety as herself.
It kept her spry.
We were poor, but she was poorer still.
Everything she had was used,
other people’s discard.
She had very little.
Things she never had, she gave.
Scrimped and saved to provide
a feast whenever we would visit.
Peasant fare, exotic to me.
A treat to the senses.
The smell of Bigos, Kapusta, Kielbasa,
all the delights of home.
My first taste of pot roast,
string beans and mushrooms.
Not those anemic white mushrooms
purchased in a store.
The pungent wild Polish Wood Mushroom,
handpicked, dried, and sent from
kuzyni in the old country.
Tastes I recreate today.
Tastes that bring comfort and love.
Memories of a land I never knew,
except in my heart and soul.
Tradition carried by aroma and taste.


I Remember Her

I remember her
standing there,
outstretched arms of love.
Taking in all our sins,
she paid the penance,
saying her Hail Marys.
Forgiving all forgiveness,
in her martyr way.
Her quiet strength
filled the room.
Keeping all pain to herself,
no one knew she was there.
Present, yet unperceivable
was her whispered prayer.
She held no malice,
spoke no hate,
though tortured was her lot.
She faded from existence
just as she arrived,
alone and unnoticed,
by all but me.
I remember her
standing there,
outstretched arms of love.


Wash Behind Your Ears

“Remember to wash behind your ears.”
Words we recall from childhood.
Our mother’s voice never leaves us,
it is always there throughout our lives …
guiding,
comforting,
teaching,
carrying us over difficult times.
We hear it when we least expect,
when we need it most.
Embedded in our psyche,
implanted in our flesh.
“Be kind to others.”
“Always share.”
“Don’t fight.”
So much wisdom lost
to past generations.
In our mind we hear the words,
but do we listen?
Do we heed counsel?
We are amused by
“Don’t run with scissors.”
Yet, we run with scissors every day.
Not sharp metal implements,
but the dangerous actions we engage in.
“Remember to say your prayers.”
“Wash behind your ears.”
Words that follow us throughout our lives.


Poet:

Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, Her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020,” published by Sweetycat Press. Chris has been internationally published, and won poetry awards from numerous publications. Her work has been translated into Sequoyah-Cherokee Syllabics, and into Spanish. She is the author of 11 poetry books. She has recently been published in several micro-fiction anthologies and short story publications.  Christine lives in Delaware, USA.  She loves gardening and cooking.  Chris lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are: The American Writers Review; The Phoenix; Burningword Literary Journal; Muddy River Poetry Review; The Write Connection; The Scribe, North of Oxford, Pomona Valley Review, Page & Spine, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Foliate Oak Review, The Stray Branch, The McKinley Review, Fourth & Sycamore.

Follow:

Website: https://annchristinetabaka.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Christine-Tabaka/e/B06XF2PWSK?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1564488528&sr=8-1