Take your sorrow soup,

sour mash of sand

that slipped through

your mother’s hands on

days spent resenting a husband’s

regretful weakness.

Trickle in the salt from old

wounds, sprinkle an ounce

of onion tears over whatever meat

you can trim from the fat

on her old chopping block.

Stir in the shadow of the owl

that passes overhead

whispering that necessary question

who cooks for you?


Kelley Jean White

Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner-city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

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