I’m standing in line to buy this week’s soup.
Someone I know comes up behind me,
places her hands on my shoulders and says,
Sweetheart, you can make your own soup,
and off she walks, after pushing
my you-don’t-know-how-to-live button:
I’m back in seventh-grade home economics
when the teacher asks, Who knows how to make soup?
I’m the only one to raise a hand, and with pride I say,
First, you open the can.
Then I’m in college psychology searching
for the secrets to life before they were sold
on every street corner, when they were
written in jargon, when my professor says,
Go through the motion to get the emotion.
My sister teases, The secrets to the universe
are in the glove compartment. And there’s the day
I hear James Taylor sing The secret of life
is enjoying the passage of time.
I sigh and buy my guilt-flavored corn chowder.
As I move through the market, I see the woman
who sent me on this journey. She’s buying
zucchini and cauliflower. I control my urge to
put my hands on her shoulders and say
Sweetheart, you can grow your own vegetables.
From Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith, (Penciled In, 2015).
Used here with the author’s permission.