Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Litany of Thanksgiving for the Word Savory

By Lynn Domina 

For parmesan, for ricotta, for soft mozzarella
            flavored with basil, layered between thick-sliced tomatoes;
for beefsteaks and early girls and ponderosa pinks, for cherry and plum;
for Canadian bacon and Irish bacon, for Irish stew,
chunks of tender lamb, potato, simmering carrot, iridescent celery,
for pearl onions.

For pearl barley thickening soup, for rye, cracked wheat,
            chunks of crusty bread dipped into penitential broth,
for warm biscuits glistening with butter, for butter
            slipping around an ear of sweet corn.
For corn chowder and corn pudding and cornbread, for blue corn tortillas.
For every meal I’ve still to taste.

For chicken roasting through Sunday afternoons, its skin golden,
            crisp, for its drippings. For gravy
            ladled onto chestnut stuffing.
            For sauerbraten, schnitzel, herb-roasted pork.
For beer-battered fish, fresh lake perch, for clam sauce,
            linguini, fettuccini, for stuffed shells, seafood ravioli.
For those locusts and scarabs and weevils I hope never to eat.

For ratatouille, gazpacho, coq au vin,
            for every international flavor, palak paneer,
            vindaloo, tikka masala; for every word
            stuffed as full as samosas, sweet as rasmalai
            held in my mouth, sweetly dissolving.

For the word sweet whose Greek root suggests rejoicing,
            whose Latin ancestor urges us to phrase our advice pleasantly;
for the word savory, which might have entered my language
via many routes. And so I rejoice
in this pleasant advice: savor uncertainty, hold doubt
upon your tongue, a smooth wafer that calls you to wonder
whether it offers the blessing of mint or of honey
or of something altogether new.

Lynn Domina is an access student in ESR's M.Div. program. She lives in the western Catskill region of New York, where she teaches English at the State University of New York at Delhi. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Corporal Works and Framed in Silence, and the editor of a collection of essays, Poets on the Psalms. Her recent poetry appears in The Southern Review, The New England Review, Christianity & Literature, and many other periodicals.

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