Stirring the Soup – William Doreski

Soup D
Illustration – Shreya Malpani

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.