Afternoon Memory by Gary Soto

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It occurred to me the other day that I don't post enough food poems on here.
So here, you are, one of my most favorite poems about food. Click the link to hear him read.

Afternoon Memory by Gary Soto
Sometimes I'll look in the refrigerator
And decide that the mustard is vaguely familiar,
And that the jar of Spanish olives is new to me.
What's this gathering? The butter
And salsa, the two kinds of tortillas
And, in back, the fat-waisted Mrs. Butterworth.
I'll study the plate of cross-legged chicken,

And close the refrigerator and lean on the kitchen counter.
Is this old age? The faucet drips.
The linoleum blisters when you walk on it.
The magnets on the refrigerator crawl down
With the gravity of expired coupons and doctor bills.
Sometimes I'll roll my tongue in my mouth.
Is this thirst or desire? Is this pain
Or my foot going to sleep? I know the factory
Inside my stomach has gone quiet.
My hair falls as I stand. My lungs are bean plants
Of disappearing air. My body sends signals, like now:
A healthy fleck is floating across my vision.
I watch it cross. It's going to attack a virus
On the right side of my body
And, later, travel down my throat to take care of knee,
Little latch of hurt. I swallow three times.
I have to help my body parts. Fellas, sour liver
And trusty kidney, I'm full of hope.
I open the refrigerator.
I've seen this stuff before. What's this?
The blow dart of bran? Chinese ginger?
No, fellas, they're carrots. The orange, I hear,
Is good for your eyes.

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