Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Glen Sorestad: "Making a Salad"

      I find in this small task
      the peace of what I have
      and what I’ll someday lose.

      —Tim Bowling, “Washing Dishes”

What a pleasant state of contentment
to stand in the kitchen at the counter top,
the lettuce, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini
all laid out on the altar before me, awaiting
transformation—the rinsing and peeling,
slicing or dicing, required of each
separate veggie that will metamorphose
the random green host into the oneness
that is salad, the way a vegetable
both loses its own self yet becomes
a distinctive part of the whole,
as each child brings its uniqueness
to a classroom. Such pleasure
I find in this small task.

I didn’t always feel this way.
Once, the making of a meal
or any dish was purely functional.
It wasn’t until I was a father I understood
that food and who prepares it and how
is special and holy in the eyes of a child.
I grew in the kitchen, donned chef’s apron,
not from sense of duty, but because
doing it and doing it well revealed
the peace of what I have.

Our children are now parents themselves.
They don their own family rites like aprons,
their own ways to show how important
little rituals are in the life of a healthy family.
From the sidelines, as I watch my own sons
assume their fatherly kitchen roles, I  smile
and am grateful for all I’ve had
and what I’ll someday lose.


"Making a Salad" by Glen Sorestad, from What We Miss: Poems. © Thistledown Press, 2010.

Art credit: Detail from "Aprons Hanging on Hooks with Vintage Feel," photograph by Sandra Cunningham, uploaded on January 24, 2103.

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