Michael H. Levin: Poems and Prose
Nobody told me
I’d inherit everything, all the ingredients --
anger and pity, grace with cruelty,
insight blurred by appetite:
a cousin’s veined hands
pinching dumplings whose
spice she never disclosed
the great-aunt, once a softball star,
compulsively scrubbing dishes so
the next course can be allowed
(What makes me so great, she’d say)
my mother, fifteen again and furious,
eyes blazing past the tureen
because they would not let me in
when her father lay dying.
Near their tombstones
encroached on by ivy, sparse
cypress lean over standing water.
The recipes I’m bequeathed are meals
for fishes, splattered by spoons
and sauces, stained with secrets.
By their baking tins,
over the cutlery,
through simmering rooms.
Better Than Starbucks, November 2022