Taste, See

How can I forget the night
you roused us all from sleep,
coming back near midnight,

some dinner party with local
politicians, journalists
eager for the opportunity

of an open bar— You
pushed aside mosquito netting
and scooped me up, brought me

to the kitchen to taste
take-home treasures none of us
had ever had before: turtle eggs

in clear stock, slippered tongues
of abalone on a bed of greens.
Especially because I was young,

I was not to be spared the lesson:
that it is most excellent to ingest
as much knowledge as one can,

of the untold riches of this earth.
What did it matter if such a feast
was never to be had again?

Years and years later, ailing
and on the verge of tears, moved by
an emotion for which you had no name,

you pointed at a drawer which held
the things I would need to make accounts
upon your death. There, beneath the pile

of your good socks flanked by a neat
stack of pressed cotton handkerchiefs—
what logic justified this pairing?—

your savings passbook with its dwindling
rows of numbers, and a roll of unused cheques.
I am sorry, your eyes said. Did you

not realize how well you taught me? My eyes and lips
still smart but I know how to open my heart to eat
whatever the world brings to my door.


In response to Via Negativa: Marrow.

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