Poems & Essays

23 Mar

My Mother’s Pho Soup

General/Column No Response

Molten brown as the skin of the ripe cocoa bean

Mother’s skirt twirls as she cooks

her Pho soup for Sunday fare,


she cleans the ox tailbones then turns low the heat

and in a twelve-quart stock pot they are steeped

together with scallion whites,


down-draft ventilator leeches the folding smoke

from the perfume-laden cauldron

of liquid torrent with splintered lives,


a slop of bubbly white froths the kettle’s frame

mother skims the fat and heaves it aside

and fragrant steam to ceiling rise,


while the wafting spice mingles the kitchen air

I climb the stool near the island’s ledge

and peer in to nostalgia’s deep,


Mother at the stove, bending over in her apron black

scooping the liquid river of our cultural roots

into a terra cotta bowl,


plump noodle drains from another boiling pot

Mother tastes the strands for softness

rising mist steams her eyes,


along with tiny lick of basil leaves and fresh sprout she tosses

black pepper and lime juice for added garnish

familiar scent strikes my hunger’s joints,


just as I breathe in deeply the perfume-pregnant air

white wisps coat fine my horn-rimmed glasses

choking off the savory view,


the devouring rushes in, though it makes no sound

chopsticks gather noodle, spoon scoops broth

my lips taste of thawing winter cold,


dregs of marrow sail across the wrinkled stock

so tip the bowl the liquid sloshes

and strips it bare my belly full.


If only briefly, the fractures of beings can be sewn by

the fatty threads of mothers’ home brews

as broth of life and life’s flowing.


Lana Bella has a diverse work of poetry and flash fiction published and forthcoming with Anak Sastra, Atlas Poetica, Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, Buck-Off Magazine, Calliope Magazine, Eunoia Review, Cecil’s Writers’ Magazine, Deltona Howl, Earl of Plaid Lit, Family Travel Haiku, First Literary Review-East, Foliate Oak Literary, Garbanzo Literary Journal, Global Poetry, Ken*Again, Kind Of A Hurricane Press, Marco Polo Arts Literary, Nature Writing, New Plains Review, Poetry Pacific, The Commonline Journal, The Higgs Weldon, The Voices Project, War Anthology: We Go On, Thought Notebook, Undertow Tanka Review, Wordpool Press, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Featured Artist with Quail Bell Magazine. She lives bi-continents, in the US and Asia, where she is the wife of a novelist and the mom of two frolicsome imps.

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