Monday Aug 08

P.IvanYoung P. Ivan Young is author of Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain (Brick House Books, 2015) and the chapbook, A Shape in the Waves (Stepping Stones Press, 2008). He received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council (2011), and is the 2013 winner of the Norton Girault Literary Prize. His most recent publications are in Passages North, The Southeast Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Apple Valley Review, Blood Lotus, The Delaware Review, and Crab Orchard Review. He is currently a doctoral student in English at University of Nebraska Lincoln.

Light and Gravy

If you'd asked any Saturday morning
I couldn't have told you what I see

now: The still life of light on gravy,
its glisten under the table lamp.

Then it was the body, the basket of biscuits,
the slices of ham that filled the air with salt

and made my stomach rumble. I try to revive
the textures within me, the cold butter,

the pot of seeded jam. Each item a history
now like the short tarnished spoon

whose story my mother recited as she dollopped
gravy at the center of the biscuits. I unearth

the box of recipes I've carried from place
to place to fill some hunger within me

for ritual, for bringing memory and the body
together: reading her scrawled directions

on how to knead the dough, sinking my hands
into its softness. While they bake

I stir the gravy, folding light over light,
letting it settle into one smooth inseparable glimmer.

I'm lost somewhere in the past when my son
comes in, takes a biscuit and dips it in the pot,

and even as I gather my objections, he laughs
and licks the slick and shining gravy from his hand.