Thursday, November 12, 2015

Pot Roast


confined to bed
and sensing her demise
she asks for boiled beef

though I am repulsed by meat
and haven’t a clue
how to prepare it
I nod and promise her pot roast
as her eyes brighten

what I refused to do for my children
or my husband
I now do for her

just as I made myself
carry a phone
so she could reach me
I now teach myself
the art of the pot roast

after all I have watched my mother-in-law
enough times
sprinkling the roast with salt and pepper
searing it
stewing it with potatoes and carrots
how hard can it be?

truthfully
pot roast might’ve saved my marriage
(if I had wanted it saved)
if I had occasionally purchased
a nicely marbled english roast
and simmered it until it fell off the bone
as a simple act of kindness

it might’ve saved my molars from root canals
the mineral-rich broth curing tooth decay

it might’ve taught me
the dialectics of sacrifice and compromise
honoring the steer
that gave its life
for others to thrive
even a very very old woman
who still has enough teeth to chew tender meat

and now for the first time since she’s left us
I rub a roast with sea salt
and freshly ground black pepper
I quarter onions and slice carrots
I throw in some thyme and parsley
from the field street garden
and leftover wine from her repast

I eat pot roast alone now
the portion I would have saved for her
gets tucked into the freezer

as I age
I too crave boiled beef
the fatty broth
and the carrots that melt
between tongue and upper palate

in her honor
I chop, sear, simmer
as the onions bring salty tears
I pull the meat off the bone
then boil the bones until they disintegrate
I take the nourishment
as my bodily memorial

No comments: