Sometimes momma disguised last night’s baked chicken
in a casserole or a fancy stir-fry since everyone knew
daddy, the military man, didn’t do day-old, freezer-burned anything.
He always sniffed out leftovers like a dusty grenade hidden
in deep foreign soil. Even if the plates and silverware shone
like new money his wrinkled brow, or sullen frown, trained me
to understand that fresh is always best. So momma taught me how
to please a man, this man, my father, through his stomach.
And here began my training as a mini-sous chef, everyday
snapping the peas, shucking bushels of Grandad’s garden corn,
my six-year-old legs dangling off that mustard yellow kitchen chair,
everything a warning; the husks and silks revealing tender kernels,
the leafy green shells floating into a paper bag of airy nothingness.