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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Shechinah

A part of the reason the Seder broth is so good—
my father removes the discarded turkey parts, the

body relegated to bag, unsightly animal profligacies,
boils the neck, the gizzards, is there a heart too?, whatever

separates bird from its killing. I listen to a podcast
on Jayne Mansfield, a woman who exploited her form

aware the cloudy market of erupting men, who said
“men want a girl to be pink, helpless, and do a lot of deep

breathing.” Struck by the intention of verb in that last
step, as if breath can be performed, life sucking in and out

the breast chambers pink hot and ready. My father pan-fries
onion and parsley until translucent, adds them to the pot.

When my brother and I turned vegetarian, this broth
was the hardest to convert, the pink throat graying under

extreme salted heat, the organ oils foaming into schmaltz
like waves and waves of ocean observed from a plane, the

incomprehensible height tightening a rope in my chest—
what I know the world to be and how often it isn’t—green

from here I see only bright as when the green is a utility,
golf courses and baseball fields a round cartoon of green,

even as nature withers in dull patches, smaller and smaller.
How strange it is we apply function as we disabuse ourselves

real life. In the cabin bathroom, my nose so much a blend
of mother and father, as when a woman pointed gently to it

and said I didn’t look a Jew. A sweet smile. My father
for his effort made a lentil version, his longing for the lump

of oil meats he would discard for us, and the story we know
well—that he went to the other room to play Solitaire, a small

pleasure, because the process loves time, because the heart
of the animal shapes into a bronze steam, because it shines

like a sea poisoned by too much breathing. As he let time
render his ideas into the shine he knew we leaned toward,

the lentils burned to tar on the bottom of his favorite pot.
He burned soup!, he would say. Who ever heard of a man

burning soup? My black hair a mix of mother and father,
my black eyes my father, my lips my mother, what I can

elect of me to inherit, loving soot of father, turkey pooled in
slime, slid tenderly from plate to trash in a night like no other.

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