everyone said she was a wonderful cook
soup to nuts
but i was too young to learn
to do anything but lick the beaters
when she went away
and left me alone
with my father and sister
who share a name but not a soul
in Nowhere, America, 1986.
dunkin’ donuts and frozen pizza.
just last year, after another move,
i found her purse
left in the car the day we left her
at the hospital
all those years ago
and in it was a menu list
another and another,
the dishes betraying the repetition
Green beans amandine.
we must have eaten it a dozen times that month,
if her lists ruled her actions.
what are green beans amandine?
i don’t know.
i don’t know the taste
i don’t know the method
i don’t know if she would have taught me, if only
i don’t know how to start the search
that would lead me to the woman who made them for me
over and over
our last days together
even if she didn’t know it then.
i’ve lost them, and others like them,
everyone said she was a wonderful cook.
somehow, everyone says that about me, now.
but how I got here
was by a thousand thousand nights
facing down dinner alone,
not sure where I came from or how to get
i don’t have family recipes,
Things i can simmer to breathe in
Everyone says i’m a wonderful cook
but i can’t make green beans amandine.