Making Soup

Making Soup

Begin with oil of olives

glistening in the well of silver

pot licked by yellow flames.

After slicing smooth tan skin

from a thumb of ginger root,

sliver the rhizome, then crush

with the knife’s handle:

pungent juice crackles in oil.

Bulbous garlic cloves, pressed,

come next with white-stemmed leeks or

yellow onions that blur the edges of the room.

Soften these invitations to the tongue

then add earthen vegetables–carrots,

burdock, potatoes, beets–thinly sliced

to lend warm tones as they sauté ten minutes,

then another five with chopped cabbage

and slant-cut yellow wax, Chinese long,

or Blue Lake beans. Raise the flame to blue.

Add water till these swim

beneath the surface,

then hijiki from the East,

fresh basil from the West,

and for sweetness shared,

several capfuls of molasses

poured into the swirling center.

Bring this medley to a boil,

turn the flame low,

simmer ten more.

While this cooks, stir half a teaspoon

of yellow, red, or mellow white miso

in a little broth till smooth,

invisible enzymes released in a porcelain bowl.

To this add a teaspoon of tahini, lemon to taste,

three ladles of soup, then bless

the miracle of hands and mouth.

Thank you to the editors of Marin Poetry Center Anthology, volume six for first publishing this poem.

MPC

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