Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Four Sonnets About Food

1
Words can’t do
what bird bones
can: stew
to the stony
essence
of one
small soul, the spent
sacrifice boiled down
to the hard white
matter that nourishes
the mighty
predator, who flourishes
on the slaughtered
animal and water.

2
Who feeds
another is like bones
to him who eats
(I say “him” only
because it is a man
in my house
who eats and a woman
who goes about
the matter of sustenance),
food being always
a matter of life and
death and each day’s
dining
another small dying.

3
Scallops seared
in hot iron
with grated ginger,
rice wine,
and a little oil
of sesame, served
with boiled
jasmine rice, cures
the malaise
of long, fluorescent
weekdays
spent
in the city
for money.

4
I am afraid
I can’t always be
here when you need
a warm body
or words; someday
I’ll slip
into the red clay
I started with
and forget
who you are,
but
for now, here’s
my offering: baked red
fish, clear soup, bread.

Credit


From Middle Kingdom (Alice James Books, 1997). Copyright © 1997 by Adrienne Su. Used with the permission of Alice James Books.

Author


Adrienne Su

Adrienne Su is the author of Living Quarters (Manic D Press, 2015). She teaches at Dickinson College and lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Date Published: 2017-11-06

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/four-sonnets-about-food