February 28, 2013

Black Spaghetti, 10 Years On

He slices onions for me
because they make me weep so
my eyes blur till I can't
see what my knife is doing.

He takes over, competent, quick,
dry-eyed as I sniffle and wipe
my eyes across the kitchen.
Distance does little good.
My eyes are as full
as his hands, and I am tired
as the metaphor
of cutting onions.

The kitchen is hot. The oven
is coming to temperature. Broth
bubbles in the pot, waiting
for the grain, the carrots, celery, those
goddamn onions. I grind
pepper, pinch
thyme off
stiff sprigs, chiffonade
basil, sharp, green-smelling,
like an unwashed

picnic blanket. We shall feast
like kings, he says,
depositing the choppings
with a flourish in the pot, and I

smile wanly, overcooked
already, and the roast's
not even in the oven yet.

I remember to season
the meat, take the potatoes
off the fire, I remember

how little all this matters,
how much I love him,
but not why.

Perhaps it's only that
he slices onions for me
because he can't stand to see me cry.

February 1, 2013

ballad of the temp worker

The old, the lame,
the unwashed, the insane,
unemployables on parade.

The manager drones
like a dial tone
and pretends we're here to get trained.

And we'll take it all for the money.
We'll take it all for the check.
We're like cattle in here, but what's funny,
is that cattle get more respect.