Red Bean Soup
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.