soup poem #4392

Every love poem I write is really a poem about soup. I wake up and think about how I love you and something in me hungers for soup—the long stretch of stewing, which is really the realization of the hope that all we have to do is wait to get everything we want. All you have to do is be patient, for an hour, maybe two, and there will be soup. Isn’t that a miracle? Sometimes when I make soup I simmer it for so long the entire house starts simmering, too, hours of swimming in a scent, swanning sweetly around in the embrace of something that smells just right, something you have been long anticipating, which makes it taste even better. I made this soup with mushrooms and bok choy, carrots and tofu, and an arsenal of sauce and spice—rice wine and soy, dashi and sugar. Making soup is a straight shot to home, a way to pretend I know everything about my culture and will never forget a recipe, which is also a form of love, the hardest kind. I make so much soup I cannot possibly finish it by myself, so I don’t. I feed you, and her, and him, too. That’s love. I make so much soup that I get sick of it and promise to never make it again, good god, but of course I will. That’s love, too. I think I will probably spend the rest of my life learning how to make soup better, to understand the chemistry of cooking, the way taste can bring you home, can put you at ease. They say taste and smell are the oldest senses, the ones that kept us alive, the most limbic, the most primeval. I am coming home to my oldest, truest self when I make soup. I make a place that you can come home to, too, when I make soup. The day is long and cold and gray but inside there is a warm bowl of soup on our wooden table. And maybe that’s enough.