"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Food and Me #9: Diptych, Christ in two panels

Panel I.

I carried slavery on my shoulder,
weighing down my bones
on the bus ride home from class.
Silence stilled me like a drug
as I stared out the window at the blank
flash of faces passing by.
I plodded home from the bus
under the weight of judgment.

I let myself into the quiet and shade
of our apartment, alone for hours
before Clint would come home.
I sat at the tiny table
and stared at the white wall
for a while, letting sadness billow
and cloud into the room.

But then I remembered there were cherries
slowly dying in the refrigerator.
I drug my heavy limbs to the door
and lifted the cherries out of the cold.
As I pitted them, cutting deep to their bones,
the red dripped down my arms to my elbows
staining my skin. The pits collected in the
metal bowl with the dull rhythm
of a hammer hitting a broken bell.

I washed the red down the sink
to make the dough with a few pulses
of the food processor, the blades
pulverizing butter and flour and water
into a kind of submission.
I pressed them smooth across the counter,
with the heel of my hand
one palm-full at a time.
But I had no patience to wait
for dough to chill. Instead
I formed a ball, and quickly crossed it
with the side of my hand
before the rolling began.

Then I mixed the sour cherries
with sugar and, for the sadness,
I offered up clove, nutmeg and allspice.
The top crust covered them all with
a pricked Latin cross.

Then the heat and the waiting.
I grew restless as the timer ticked
off mounting piles of washed dishes
and folded clean clothes in the waiting
until I ran out of work
and just sat to breathe the burning,
of the flour frying in butter
and solemn incense bubbling
over the cracked crust.

When the door finally clicked open
that night, we ate sadness incarnate.

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