Because his mother always
burns the beans
I am careful not to; but once
distracted by the babies at my feet
I let the pot run dry.
Slender fingers of green
ruin to brown with a minute’s
inattention, but I refuse defeat
scrape the beans onto his plate
next to meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
He rolls his eyes
and I gather steam, become
the door-to-door salesman of supper:
They are supposed to look that way!
Burn-aise sauce, it’s French, I say.
I saw the recipe on TV, or read it in a book.
Lies tumble from my lips like crumbs
and I invoke the saints of good cuisine:
Julia Child, Betty Crocker, Sara Lee,
so burned to a crisp am I by the thought
of doing wrong and getting caught.
From The Congress of Luminous Bodies (Aortic Books, 2013).
Used here with the author’s permission.