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No matter that he shouldn’t,

that the doctor has already told him where this has led,

where this is leading (we already know),

still he leans over the stove, one hand bracing

against the counter—he leans like a building

grazed by the wrecking ball.

Still he’ll heat the bacon grease

for the gravy, gloss the butter over the top

of the cornbread, grate ribbons of cheddars

and mozzarellas for the mac and cheese. And though

he’ll carve the chicken perhaps a bit too carelessly,

as his thumb twitches so close to the knife’s

inclination, tender, tenderly, he’ll rest

the bird into the oil, so gently that even it wouldn’t

complain, could it.

Though beads of grease spring and somersault

over the burners so close to the hand, the arms

scarred brown in sloppy patchwork; though

the swollen legs, the aching back nearly give

as he peeks through the oven door; though

he has made too much, too late, in this kitchen

for himself; though he may falter once, only once, before

he brings the fork to his mouth, still he does, and again,

and again; though the cluttered countertops, the sink full

of dishes, the empty plate, the knife blade, the fork tines, all

messied with intention, seem to say, Look how you’ve hungered;

though he hasn’t, though he isn’t, he will eat.

from ErouFind more by Maya Phillips at the library

Copyright © 2019 Maya Phillips
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.

Published in Maya Phillips Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.