You & I Belong in This Kitchen
longtime hermano Bob tells me one of the monks in brown directs us to the deep sink made of two sinks the hose & the silver table where all the spoons & metal tongs are clean wait at the entrance for directions the monk gave me but he is in there & points me to another sink made of two sinks & a silver table where all the spoons & metal tongs are clean scrub off the rice burned at the bottom there it is clinging to the sides of the steel outside working the hole in the earth three monks in brown stir the blackish pots boiling four mouths of mud cakes for the new lunar year the dragon the people the monastery the mountains one monk stands staring into the nothing no thoughts around him the other monk descends through the scaly fog two children angle an exploded tree limb back & forth so the sparks play with them to the left the meditation hall is curved & faces Escondido down below where my father drove his army truck & pulled our trailer to a stop on Lincoln Road in ‘54 I watered spidered corn & noticed the deportations little friends gone the land left to ice alone lunch is served we go to the line the spoons and the speckled tongs await by the brown rice white rice eggplant kim chee & a grey shade pot pour the seaweed soup we go with our tray & sit the mud cakes are ribboned in red & gold & green there is a way to do this it requires listening & seeing & silence silence the bell rings longtime hermano Bob & I at the parking lot we leave brown cloth brown cloth naked spoons naked pots steam rises from the sink & the view the view with no one in front or in back
Copyright © 2012 by Juan Felipe Herrera. Used with permission of the author.
Juan Felipe Herrera
Juan Felipe Herrera is the Poet Laureate of the United States. He served on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets from 2011 to 2016.
Date Published: 2012-03-14
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/you-i-belong-kitchen