mother told me before I went off to college
she’d miss the way I picked things out of my food--
childish reflex to cleanse my meals of sliced cucumbers,
mushrooms, tomatoes. My father,
most other respects is a very
open-minded man, does not like onions,
is why no one tells him that his mother-in-law’s
recipe for his favorite hamburgers includes onions,
chopped ever so finely, as to avoid detection.
pickiness was learned, at an early age,
my parents, who, only a few years older than I am now,
not cast off the quirks of their youth
little paper boats at the banks and shoals of adulthood.
never quite learned how to lie to their children
the deliciousness of baby corn or cauliflower.
grandfather never made dinner,
used to offer his snacks to my brothers and me:
mango from his tree, dried cuttlefish
--which tastes like fishy shoelaces--,
was his way of saying
you and now I love
not around to eat my pickles anymore.
are so many more pickles now than there ever were.
peanuts were not
so much about the eating
offering, the half-eaten bento box
grandfather’s grave that says
for you, one for me.
never learned to eat quickly,
my plate, or finish the last sip of milk.
was young, meals were slow, cautious affairs,
sorting through the chaos of someone else’s creation.
studied abroad in England,
cafeteria made the food wrong:
in the potato salad,
bacon, and no one deboned the fish.
a vegetarian I dated for a while
told me that adults are people who eat things
never ate my olives.
are good for you, she said.
tried to take that to heart,
tofu, kale, and quinoa,
tomatoes in ketchup to hide the taste.
can’t help but think she was wrong--
adulthood is about more than voluntary submission
knowing how to eat lentils.
love used to eat my olives,
accepted them like a crossroads god.
slid them off my plate, as if they were
twine and figs and robin’s eggshells.
wouldn’t have traded that gesture for
anything but for ever.
Someone had transmuted my foolishness,
a way to savor Midas’s apples.
Formulaic Epithets and Falling In Love While Reading Book 24 of
learned tonight while reading Andromache's last speech
the Greeks could have heard an entendre in the phrase
‘common as the rising and setting of the sun’--their lips
have glitched on the word "exhumation,"
dig up yesterday's stars,
again or at least not dead.
in love for the first time and we are meeting.
a beginning that has happened many times before,
common and tired a thing as the ‘well-greaved Achaeans,’
‘swift-footed Achilles,’ and 'rosy-fingered Dawn'.
think of Andromache's love, deeper than a well-dug grave,
at the end of all things, at our beginning,
the ways I wish to die, some Elizabethan pun,
resurrecting this noble corpse our love.
Azar Blanca is a student and writer in
California. Azar went to school on the East Coast at Middlebury
College and right now is abroad collecting stories for a new
project that he’s working on for radio. Azar spends a lot of
time reading books to understand other books and writes about