Curled macaroni and bits of bacon,
egg salad, potato soup, and in cellophane bags
the heels of two loaves of bread, neatly wrapped.
Time was, there were never any leftovers,
and it seemed that no amount of food could fill
the lanky, busy bodies of their children.
Suddenly it was just the two of them, sitting down at a big table
with four empty chairs and enough food for a dozen boys.
Still, they grow their gardens and put up the harvest
in hundreds of glinting jars that line dank cellar shelves,
some with dates from four years ago or older,
the lids rusting in the musty dark.
She never learned to cook for two,
although Lord knows she tried.
Casseroles, soups, roasts and pasta, all come out
in quantities large enough to feed a growing family.
She apologizes as she serves the remains
of this week’s cooking bounty.
At the end of the meal they sit awhile,
listening to the echo of long-gone voices,
the scrape of knives and forks on empty plates.
Then they push back their chairs,
get out the plastic containers
and carefully put away the leftovers.