How To Condense Milk
by Jaya Avendel

I entice a fluffy cloud to rise above the
Silver rim of my grandmother’s pot by
Whisking until my wrist falls off,
Until the hands on my broken clock stop.

I count time in the sweet simmer of my blood and
My body’s response to the music
Filling my lonely kitchen with songs
Ugly in their portrayal of love.

I listen to fifteen songs
Fifteen songs all the same
All as slurred as the burn I prevent by dancing with
My wrist as well as my feet
At the bottom of my grandmother’s pot.

White turns to gold
I nurture sunshine in a frozen world
Until I want to scream
The steam is screaming.

Time stops with the chickadees
At the back of my mind
The radio fuzzes out
A storm is coming.

My grandmother’s pot
Harbors three minutes of pouring
Silky smooth substance and
Two minutes of thought
Tasted as love or hate depending on the tongue.

PAINTING: The Milk Maid by Johannes Vermeer (c1660).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Since age nine, I have written by hand, which offers a deep connection to the words and feelings I capture in ink. I often find myself feeling disjointed when I try to write in type without having my handwritten first draft in front of me. ¶ Several months ago, I condensed milk for the first time to avoid an impossible drive to the grocery store to make a rather questionable but sinfully filling treat called southern butter buns. Since then, making condensed milk not only to put into the bun sauce but also to mix with flavored fresh snow (yes, snow off the ground), is a labor of love that offers me clarity of mind and purpose.

Author Photo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jaya Avendel, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is passionate about family, fantasy, poetry, and prose. Her writing is published at Visual Verse, Free Verse Revolution, Mookychick, and Green Ink Poetry, among others, and is most recently published in The Kali Project Anthology. She writes creatively at