She was the black queen of the house,
the hot heart at the center of every day.
She was fed before coffee could be had,
her whims and demands controlling
whether anyone else even ate at all.
She was ornamented with nickel and porcelain,
decorated with intricate designs and dainty legs
that had little to do with her function,
but pleased her vanity.
Feed her right, just the right mix of dry and green,
large and small, with air adjusted to her liking,
and she would turn out the best biscuits
a man or woman ever tasted,
the crispest bacon, the well-browned cornbread,
well-cooked beans and hot, hot coffee.
She worked all day, knowing her role
as provider of heat and food for the hungry and cold,
as long as careful attention was paid to her needs.
Pies, cakes, breads, stews and roasts and soups
poured from her black innards, from her
warming oven and red-hot lids.
Heated water waited in her tank,
towels, gloves and aprons dried on her rack.
She had many names:
Home Comfort, Peerless Victor, Kitchen Queen and Monarch,
Majestic, Classic, Gem, Charm and Royal.
Names that gave homage
to her power and her rule.