When you need a big pot

When you need a big pot

for cooking, likewise a huge bowl

for holding, sharp knife

for slicing, nothing

else will do. No two ways.

And when one wishes to welcome

guests for lobsters, the pot

looms large, the canvas of cooking

broad, the eager spirit willing, sprawling, generous.

Blades are honed, bowls brought forth, fixings sought

in anticipation.

And after searching for lobsters in April on this island in the ocean

and finding oddly none

available for the weekend, one discovers they can be

shipped by ferry, an hour from Galilee.

And the big pot becomes central, and precisely

where was the hulk last seen?

Friends have been invited with their friend,

newcomer to the island. Best it must be

of my lone hands, resourcefulness and tools.

A meal of simple parts: baby lettuces

bathed, awaiting extra virgin et cetera,

potatoes baked, stuffed back into brown skins, likewise wait.

And yes, the big pot will now be needed, by the approaching lobsters.

There was a biggest pot before the house went topsy-turvy

with upheaval of construction. Migrated. Ah —

retrieved from tag sale goods in the church basement. Sorry, god,

must welcome honored guests into my house on this green earth, and need

the big pot, for my devices and desires.

And ah, the big pot: scrubbed, shining reassuringly

large of girth, deep, filled with water, which

the big pot nurtures, slumbers, toward distant boil, for a long,

vastly long while.

And in that while the company proceeds

to entertain the hostess, and as stories

of theater enter laughing, all forget

the slowest boil on this earth, in the studiously

unwatched big pot.

At boil’s end a miracle: lobsters tender,

inside red armor. Convivial business: cracking,

sucking of shells, swirling in butter, prying,

teasing sweet morsels, licking of fingers, tossing

through flowing words and wine, each hollowed carapace

toward a huge bowl.

Simple meal — puts to work the guests. And

glorious evening: rounded and shaped by pace

and the social grace: of that slowly adept, astonishing

big pot.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio

— 2012




Summer of Red Rockers

Glimpsed: a flash, a red

rocker: at

Red Right Return.

A woman: touched it, tipped it

forth, then back. How dare?

Each day on the sidewalk, the red

rocker at just that turn.

Old, but rescued by red,


Saturday of expectations: friends

to share some lobsters. I

made bold to stop

at red.

“I didn’t use primer,” she said, “I wanted

to see the grain raise. And I wove

the seat. For you — a third off.”

My own

touch to it, assessment

of rock, of rough-curved

wood on walk.

The seat: taut line, lashed

through drilled holes, tight

woven to last.

Heft to the pickup. She added, “Now

I don’t have to carry it

inside each night.”

Home with rescued red to a space

that rescued a dying house. Rough wood

to floor: and sure, and smooth, that rock

that carried slowly toward the sun

between two weathered arms

a rescued owner.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio


Front Porch

Front porch, summer night, secluded

by arborvitae and brick half wall,

quiet under vaulted roof, cool

in heat, thick cushions on iron chairs where

a child’s feet almost reach the edge.

Calm place to listen, companionable silence

of little girl, daddy. Small

town in Ohio, crossroads of commerce

back then.


On Granville Road a block away growl trucks

heavy uphill eastbound to the new interstate.

From far east Morse Road, far west Linworth, freight trains

wail south to north full


oranges, peaches, peanuts, furniture, hogs, clatter

through crossings, motorists guarded by flimsy gates

spot engineer in square of light, count

cars, anticipate red caboose, wave to conductor.


A train that has been with flamingoes

goes back, leaves cars from Detroit

under Spanish moss, tires from Akron

amid palm trees, alligators and grand dim Hotel Alabama

where grandparents go all winter

grandaddy with golf bags, grandmother with books.


Upstairs now for summer, in their deafness

do they hear clatters, wails, growls, remember

orange blossoms? Sad

if grandparents can’t hear promises of adventure.


“Well, Little C,” Daddy abbreviates Little Creature,

“Are you feeling prosperous?”

Prosperous? Firmer than promise, must be good or


he would not ask, so Little C breathes “yeah…”

pensive, unsure but knowing she can be

whatever she might want,

whatever Daddy lets her know is as good

as the front porch on a summer evening.


— Frances Huggard Migliaccio

Aunt Minnie

Aunt Minnie loved me. She told me

Jesus loved me as she

Taught me to play marbles with buckeyes

On her worn rug, below the photos

On the upright piano.

The privy out back was too big, she gave me

A white enamel pail instead under the grape arbor.

When I was hungry, she fried me a cake

Of leftover mashed potato: heaven! And

What she had.

Aunt Minnie loved me. When I was older, I learned

That in the home, where she died, Aunt Minnie kept

My baby face on a table, and every night,

Kissed me

and put me to sleep

inside the drawer,

Her little white baby.

— Frances Huggard Migliaccio (2008)

(Published in Bow Wave, Issue 639, May 8, 2012)

bird know

duck in snow


qua-qua man call

duck word loud over pond

and throw black seeds

shiny on snow


chickadee in snow

she know

suet man cram

slab in cage

chat-watch make sure

he do it right

heckle-chat instructives

he ck-ck-ck back

he do know her

she know


cardinal, bluejay, finch in snow


clutch on feeder perch

sure for seed

plumage flash seen from window

ensure seed to come


crow in snow

he know

take feeder on a spin

ride it, swing and shake to make

black oil seed




to crow below

on snow


— Frances Huggard Migliaccio

Winter Solstice 2016



Draw near, draw near:

inside the warm house

on the cold hill.


As the fire draws sustenance,

spreading an ancient, sure cheer,

draw near, draw near.


Stars burn with heat impalpable,

light filtered through years.

Somewhere, the stars.

Closer, the moon reflects coldly

on our human condition.


We are another sure warmth:

of breathing animals

with minds alight:


Draw near, celebrate

Earth’s gifts, protect

them for our children’s

children, share them

with all.


At solstice we know: sun will break at day.


We regard

pieces of our torn world,

veins of Earth exposed.


We recall

peace we conjured in songs of old,

vain hopes sung to the void.


Still we sing, blindly

knowing we must.


Draw near — draw near — we breathe


— Frances Huggard Migliaccio