Appetite, oh appetite we’ve fed, you’re hungry all over again—
Baked bread torn into chunks, dipped in a wide-mouthed bowl
coated with olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar, its name
derived from fragrant plants with gummy oleoresins—
Eggplants roasted till their shiny purple skins
furrow into soft creases and their limp bodies
go into a mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
How to manage the midnight cravings when there is nothing
in the cupboard except stale crackers and dubious green
jelly, nothing but the crumbs in an old pack of cookies?
Kippers, a hard-boiled egg, thin wheels of red onion.
Latkes with applesauce or sour cream, lox on bagels.
Meatloaf with a side of mashed potatoes. But
nothing quite satisfies the hunger for origins
otherwise known as the hunger for home, than
plates composed again from memory— At Christmas,
queso de bola and plump round fruit on the table,
ruddy with hopes for luck and wealth. Rich
stews flavored with olives, bell peppers, and laurel leaf;
tongue rendered tender in a mushroom sauce. The soul
understands what we hanker for: not just the outward
veneer of all these tastes and textures, but
what they signify: hands that diced and chopped,
extracted trellises of bone from milkfish and carefully
yoked shred skins back to their substance. Feed me, though
zen might be a state of bliss without the hunger pangs.


In response to small stone (184).

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