The Seeds of Soup and Seasons

The seeds of all my seasons come together
in a soup of something I could once taste
but hold now in my mouth like water. They grow up
out of themselves
into a recipe that has it all—sweetness
contained in kernels that distill its qualities perfectly:
white corn in late summer,
hot from fire and swimming in some kind of honeyed brine that tastes like weathered wood
and nothing I know the name of,
a leftover solstice mix fierce and slow with underpinnings of rot and adventure,
a flavor of singe and lakewater,
of a wet moon and its spell. It carries too
the haunted pucker of October,
the crispness of fallen forest in fall. A mystery,
sliced in half when I wasn’t looking
and offered with one hand out
and one hand hidden. Pepper plays with it well
and coaxes it into almost giving itself up.
When I try to figure it out it almost vanishes.
It tickles like I imagine the folds of snowflakes’ edges would,
a tumble of melting angles in my throat. Most times too
it leaves behind a faint residue of spice—-shyer than nutmeg
and wilder than something like paprika. I can’t name it
but it has its own way of warming me. An electricity of brine,
gentled by the ways I get to know it. This soup has in it also
the seeds of spring, of cool things
breathing water as they birth. It
wants to be raw but simmers. I don’t season it
but wait instead for it to let me know what it needs.
Sometimes it’s cream to cradle it and make it younger,
to soften it up. It might be a twig of rosemary,
nipped from the tree by the train tracks.
or it could be the greening up of wild young onion,
raised up from feral earth and made clean. Other days I’ve sensed
a flush of rosehip, too sweet for words, like the hymn
I found myself humming at dusk in April as a child. I’ve needed it
for days now but can’t seem to pull it together. There’s nothing
written down for me to go by. I try things out
and they almost work together but when I go to taste them
they turn into strangers and there I am again
with that drink of simple water, limned by none of the grit
and gruel I’m used to getting. I cradle it against my tongue
for a time and then swallow,
moving it past my teeth in a cool flush of emptiness,
a chalice of shadow that replaces all my hungry spots with coolness
in a surprise move of transubstantiating grace,
my only season
this heart’s beat of dwindling sun
and autumn wind.

The Seeds of Soup and Seasons


Jasper, United States

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