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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,

filaments drift

through simmering rooms.

Better Than Starbucks, November 2022


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