As an older man, Graying, not stooped, I saw the future: Extremities Cold, tongue Sluggish, Foam at the lips. Excessive hope Seemed more Indulgent Than despair. I ran great distances. I stood in sunlight Just to see my shadow, Show it off. For the first time I remember My soul looked back. What other people learn From birth, Betrayal, I learned late. My soul perched On an olive branch Combing itself, Waving its plumes. I said Being mortal, I aspire to Mortal things. I need you, Said my soul, If you’re telling the truth.
Because the most difficult part about making something, also the best,
Is existing in the middle,
Sustaining an act of radical imagination,
I simmered a broth: onion, lemon, a big handful of mint.
The phone rang. So with my left
Hand I answered it,
Sautéing the rice, then adding the broth
Slowly, one ladle at a time, with my right. What’s up?
The miracle of risotto, it’s easy to miss, is the moment when the husks dissolve,
Each grain of rice releasing its tiny explosion of starch.
If you take it off the heat just then, let it sit
While you shave the parmesan into paper-thin curls,
It will be perfectly creamy,
But will still have a bite.
There will be dishes to do,
The moon will rise,
And everyone you love will be safe.