Poems & Essays

24 Feb

A Stomach to Sleep On

General/Column No Response

My boy comes home hungry
from a full day at a friend’s house
where he forgot to eat

I am making eggplant moussaka,
my Armenian mother-in-law’s recipe.
I have sliced the eggplant into thin pieces
salted the circles and let them stand
patted each one dry before frying them
The chopped meat still thaws on the counter

When he comes home
unexpectedly hungry
there is nothing to eat
He doesn’t like it when vegetables,
sauce, and meat touch

I scramble. Form the chopped meat
into a patty. Place it in a sizzling pan
flip it, put a hunk of cheese on top
slide it onto a panini
next to carrots and apples
followed by a mini watermelon 
cut in half like a bowl 
so he can eat it with a spoon
the way he likes. Nothing special

Now there isn’t enough meat for the moussaka
the cooked eggplant sits on the counter
my mother-in-law’s dark eyes fade
and my family’s next warm meal
remains in pieces

But I don’t care because I hear 
my twelve-year-old son 
strut out of the kitchen and say,
Ah, this is a good stomach to sleep on

Ana María Carbonell is a writer currently living in Berkeley, CA. Her work is forthcoming in Loch Raven Review and at the Popular Culture/American Culture Associations Conference. It has also appeared in MELUS (Multicultural Literatures of the U.S.) and was presented at Missoula’s Minority Literatures Conference. Ana María enjoys writing about cultural identity and relationships. Some of her favorite poets include Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, and Yusef Komunyakaa. When not writing, Ana María enjoys hiking, watching films, and dancing to live music, especially under an open sky.

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