Cream of tomato, celery,
caramelized onion, peppers.
and a dozen other subtleties.
As I stir with a wooden spoon
the soup regards me with pink
and enthusiastic flesh tones.
After a prelude of bubbles and sighs
it thickens into real soup.
Friends arrive and dump their coats
in the bedroom, and with great chatter
line up with mugs and spoons. Behind
the kitchen window, Cambridge
wrings heavy paws in the rain,
preparing to maul whoever dares
attend Harvard’s carol service
with its fluted undergrad choir.
Like terraces of mandolins,
hillsides of banjos, meadows
spiked with trumpets and tubas,
the season prefers music to lust.
The soup requires much stirring
because it congeals like a dream
of roiling among striped bedclothes
with an eager and bell-curved partner.
So I add a cup of water to ease
its distinctions and tender its heat.
The pulse of it can’t cool, however—
too random and exuberant.
The crowd also congeals, pressing me
against the range. Too many friends,
some chattering in Quebecois,
others swapping post-biblical tales
rife with divine intervention.
The heat of the soup is the heat
of the body. It doesn’t deceive.
I stir so hard I ache all over,
but the soup rewards with aromas
thick enough to immunize
when I drink the dark urban rain.
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various online and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013). He lives in Peterborough, NH.