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Which Kitchen Implement Are You?

This thought provoking poem brings back good memories of the creative teachers who inspired me. Which kitchen implement would you choose?


by Naomi Shihab Nye

When our English teacher gave

our first writing invitation of the year,

Become a kitchen implement

in 2 descriptive paragraphs, I did not think

butcher knife or frying pan,

I thought immediately

of soft flour showering throught the little holes

of the sifter and the sifter’s pleasing circular

swishing sound, and wrote it down.

Rhoda became a teaspoon,

Roberto a funnel,

Jim a muffin time

and Forrest a soup pot.

We read our paragraphs out loud.

Abby was a blender. Everyone laughed

and acted but the more we thought about it,

we were all everything in the whole kitchen,

drawers and drainers,

singing teapot and grapefruit spoon

with serrated edges, we were all the

empty cup, the tray.

This, said our teacher, is the beauty of metaphor.

It opens doors.

What I could not know then

was how being a sifter

would help me all year long.

When bad days came

I would close my eyes and feel them passing

through the tiny holes.

When good days came

I would try to contain them gently

the way flour remains

in the sifter until you turn the handle.

Time, time. I was a sweet sifter in time

and no one ever knew.

"Sifter" by Naomi Shihab Nye, from A Maze Me: Poems for Girls. © Greenwillow Books, 2005.

- Photo by Helena Yankovska on Unsplash

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