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


Thursday

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.
 

Credit


Copyright © 2017 by James Longenbach. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 14, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem


“Though I’d rather make poems than anything else, I’ve discovered over the years that I really have only one way of doing things, and, on a good day, I can inhabit the primal pleasure of making almost anything. This poem tries to honor what seems to me both the meticulous work and the ineffable magic of making.”
—James Longenbach
 

Author


James Longenbach

James Longenbach is the author of five poetry collections: Earthling (W. W. Norton, 2017), The Iron Key (W. W. Norton, 2012), Draft of a Letter (University of Chicago Press,, 2007), Fleet River (University of Chicago Press, 2003), and Threshold (University of Chicago Press, 1998). Also a literary critic, he is the Joseph Henry Gilmore Professor of English at the University of Rochester. He lives in Rochester, New York. 

Date Published: 2017-09-14

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/thursday-0