Tag Archives: Rena Rossner

Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill

by Rena Rossner

The BBQ is on, I hear the hiss
of gas and flame, the clatter of tools
wooden-handled, spatula, tongs, fork,
skewer, brush, and his hands, caressing
wings, breasts, thighs, juicy, marinating.
See how he prods the beef? Patties that
melt at his touch, fatty, succulent, and
vegetables, round, perfect, skewered
kebab-style, glistening, brushed with oil,
extra-virgin, seasoned, sprinkled with salt,
pepper, rubbed gently with cloves of crushed
garlic. The beer bottle next to him sweats
and leaves her mark – rings of condensation
on the wooden sideboard, the clink
of his gold band against the glass, his lips
puckered over the rim as he takes a sip.
I watch from inside how his adam’s apple bobs.
I toss: vodka shots, coleslaw, massage
butter into ears of corn, line chip baskets
with napkins: paper, red-checked, grease-
stained, and slice pickles, long and thin.
Then I squeeze lemons into lemonade, stir
in sugar, spike with rum, and add
ice cubes, one by one. I watch them


by Rena Rossner

Last night
when you walked
from your house
to the corner
shop to buy beer
and a package of crisps
I was burying
bones of sacrilege
in my backyard.
We wore the same
uniform, black
with shades of grey
the color of wet earth
and tossed sky.
Dressed in self-hating
fatigue, we both
made our way back
home, dodging scorpions
and derelicts, to come
in out of the cold, and
find warmth, inside, where
candles were lit and incense
burned. There was music
and longing and the sound
of tv, and food on the table,
faces, smiling, and love
strong as death.


by Rena Rossner

You can find me in the foam that sits atop your coffee like
a prayer. Me in your jacket pocket, like a tissue, slightly wet
from tears. I am in the mass of churchgoers where you sit
and listen to the voices of the choir, I’m in the organ, in the
music. I am dust suspended in air. Derelict but free.

Some hide their wounds like talismans, secret beauty marks
of the divine. I am the scar you never knew you had but found
one day, a paper-cut, slightly bleeding. I crawl inside your ear,
a dark angel. I am the song you listened to yesterday, and loved
but didn’t know why. Something about diamonds.

You can find me in the cat that rests on your arm, prohibiting
movement. Purring desire. In the bird that makes its nest outside
your window, watching you. I am the smile in the woman they
just kidnapped on TV. Cry out for my death. Children know love
is found in hands and eyes. Open yours.


by Rena Rossner

Plate. Wedgewood, Floral Tapestry, 1997.
It’s the first thing I did after we got engaged.
Went to Harrod’s. Face shining. Hope filled.
Nineteen years old and peering into gleaming
glass cabinets at patterns. The holy trinity:
China, Crystal, Silver. I picked you. Elegant
and composed of tiny mosaic tiles. Botanical.
Inspired by the Tudor and Stuart dynasties.
A fruitful marriage of fine needlework and
ceramic design. Riddled with insects. I should
have known. The first thing you do after you
get engaged: do not go look at china. Inner
circle the color of clotted cream, perfect
for scones. Tea parties. Sunday morning
brunches, omelets, waffles, strawberry jam,
syrup-topped pancakes, coffee, steaming, the
cream jug, the sugar bowl, lidded, the teacup:
Peony or Leigh? Choices. He never liked
the pattern, but I had already registered. So we
picked another one. With tigers. Something red,
bloody, perfect for steak: Persia. I was vegetarian.
But he pictured dinner parties. Lots of guests
eating meat. Red wine. Sauce boat. Soup tureen.
Another registry, another store, two patterns.
They bought them all, our guests. Complete.
I still remember the Fergie commercials. She
stood on a tower of plates. Nothing broke.
A testament to the durability of china.