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She asked me to put the kettle on.
I hopped up, grabbed the generous

arc over its copper-shine body, lit 
the gas. The noise was a wheeze 

I stayed to hear. The breeze increased 
and a magnificent apple-green flame 

I’d never seen, shot from the spout 
and flickered. It was a colour I wanted 

to wear in crisp light cotton to counter 
the heat of our long humid summers.

Suddenly the spout fell off.
What? I thought and stopped the gas.

I lifted the lid and saw how I’d failed
to check on the water inside, how

there was none, how her keepsake 
kettle was done for and so was I.

Feature image: Mildred Ford, Tea Kettle, c. 1936, NGA

Listen to Kathryn read the poem