the woman, busy. shuffling hands passing dishes like magicians from cabinet to table. the muffled laughter of a shared joke that doesn’t pass outside the kitchen door. inside here is equal footing and slippery slopes both, grandmother clucks and takes the bowl because you’re stirring wrong and there should be more salt don’t you know; in-law pinches lips about full-fat milk pour. but here, land untouched by men, there is a warmth of kin. the woman dance, around toys on the floor, the art of raising house quietly, of asking nicely for help, of expecting refusal. the young girls who are already learning to whisk in and out, hands full of food, tight smile at lewd. the moment where young girls become young women, where they are handed salad or bread to serve, where they get the joke, where a door softly opens and they are home. something deep and secret and magic. unwork, unhard, unlabor. the keeping of beasts, who roughhouse and kick up heels, who drink beers and belch at televisions. the quieting of red-cheeked shouters, whose women know to duck, to insert crackers to calm hunger, to approach with gentle hands and speak in gentle words and gentle shushing of a loud soul. inside the kitchen she straightens, she eye-rolls, she whispers men and we all, women, we know.