9:42 a.m.
I have mung
beans soaking
for our supper.
Like a farm wife
in the kitchen
first thing in the day.
All the vegetables
chopped for
the subji.
Cabbage, carrots,
Onion, turnip.
Julienne green beans
and pea pods
for length.
Yellow squash
and green
for color.
Paying attention
to shape.
Coaxing my memory
about grain,
the direction
the life flows
through the food.
Tonight we have
and I am committed
to cooking what I
instead of trying
to figure out
what they might.
A pasttime which
has made me crazy,
stolen the joy
from my kitchen –
as your inability
to talk to me
at dinner has.
I can’t see what
else to do,
I wanted to make
people happy,
to spread joy
like the flu.
But it hasn’t worked,
and my elbow
is damaged
from the constant
So I am cooking
what I love,
the things that
are familiar,
that I can prepare
as a dance.
The things that
make me grounded
in the truth of my

My brother came
I made salmon,
my usual dish
for carnivores.
One that doesn’t
bother me too much
to make.
My mother-in-law
a real quandary
because she doesn’t
eat fish.
I find myself
each year
trying to negotiate
my way around
a turkey,
cooking it
to please my
husband and child.
One year I got
something rolled
up in a roast.
Last year I bought
one already cooked,
the worst choice
so far.
An ancient thing
in a cellophane
bag, that fell
apart when you
lifted it from
the pan.
I decided then,
no more.
I have been
saying this
for years.

No one wants
to cook for me,
they think I’m
strange because
I don’t eat dead
They are baffled
and so don’t bother.
but I don’t give
up so easily,
never easily enough,
I am always
thinking of what
will pass,
what can I serve
that will make
people feel
that they are
eating as they
always do.
That will make
them not notice
they didn’t have
But the price
is too high, I can’t
pay it any more.
The food they eat
makes me fat,
and worse than that
it sets my life
in motion,
going a direction
I do not want
to go –
and turning it around
is not that easy.
Turning it around
is the hardest thing
you’ll ever have
to do.
I have learned
this a million times,
and I am probably
still not through.

It is a sacrifice
of the self,
for nothing.
I don’t quite
know why,
but I’ve lived it
enough to know
it’s true.
That every time
I give up what
I need for someone
else’s happiness,
it always fails
and leaves me
so off course,
I can’t tell
where I am.
I cannot do
what has no
truth to me.

So you see,
that’s why
we’re having
spinach dhal
for dinner,
with dates for dessert.
And I am thinking
of being out of town
at Thanksgiving,
and I don’t know
what else
may cause me to leave,
but I’m tired
of resisting
the journey
that is my life,
and doing it not just
because someone
wants meat
at dinner,
but because
they are stuck
in their assumptions,
asleep at the plate,
unwilling to come
into my life
when they come
to my house
for dinner.
But I don’t need
to blame anyone
I did it myself,
I did it to myself,
from intentions
both solid and
And now I have
to do something
Somehow it’s all
that I can do,
to just do the
simplest things
and eat what’s