Potato Au Gratin

Gratin

They wanted gratin.

I found potatoes
and the carefree of surplus milk;
I washed the potatoes
in the shadows of water.

Peeled, sliced, and layered
a scatter of onion, slices;

like the photons
Persephone unpicked from the loom each morning.

Could you do this? I washed the potatoes
in the water’s shadows.

No crisis, as such, for the rest of the day. Just
a kitchen’s criss-cross of paths,
the pounding, broad and interred
pain across the ribs, the impending goodbyes.

I cut the potatoes. Nostalgia, I swear,
is homebound. Is bread. Is water’s hardness.

Poured milk
across the shingles, the scales of potatoes.
(Its cooking the fret-board of an hour;
in the clock’s mechanics of metamorphosis.)

It came from the oven in a blistered skin,
liquids bubbling.
One of us served it; light turning grey,
it was that kind of evening. Light turning grey.

We were hungry; and ate
with our separate appetites —

[I saw, in the dish, strands of onion]

the lines of a body
in a body’s rubble.

Sean Borodale, Human Work, Cape Poetry, Penguin Random House, London, 2015, 14-15.

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