Red Bean Soup

Photo courtesy of Dishmaps

Photo courtesy of Dishmaps


I cannot bring it to the international food fest

at the middle school; it will be returned

like the tea eggs after orchestra practice.


I cannot serve it at a dinner party, even Chinese,

unless it’s an alternate to the cobbler

or I invite a specialized audience.


I never take it to work, though it’s fortifying,

because lunch is dinner reheated;

the Thermos accommodates only one thing.


Now that my family of origin seldom

gathers in restaurants, it no longer appears

at meal’s end, a surprise from the kitchen.


Thus red bean soup seems not to exist.

No one demands it for occasions;

it’s too unpopular for potlucks.


Both homey and banquet-worthy, a grace note,

it dwells at both ends of the spectrum,

which is why I nearly forgot:


I’m the one who served pie alone, and failed

to heed the shadow hunger. Now I recall

fried turnip cakes, black sesame paste,


stewed beef tendon – that which means division

or unity – that which I could, if compelled,

live apart from. But it would take a revolution.