Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Model: Eating the Bones


I came across this poem, "Eating the Bones" by Ellen Bass while I was actually looking for something else, but it just struck me that she is writing about us. Maybe it is a fish and not a piece of beef, but this is my family.

Eating the Bones

The women in my family
strip the succulent
flesh from broiled chicken,
scrape the drumstick clean;
bite off the cartilage chew the gristle, 
crush the porous swellings
at the ends of each slender baton.
With strong molars
they split the tibia, sucking out
the dense marrow. 
They use up love, they swallow 
every dark grain,
so at the end there’s nothing left,
a scant pile of splinters
on the empty white plate.
From The Human Line by Ellen Bass. Copyright © 2007 by Ellen Bass
Similar to the poem "Sonrisas" by Pat Mora - how do I show this world, how do I show the people through this type of close study of a simple act like eating?

I also look to Juliet Kono's "Pearls" in Hilo Rains by Juliet Kono for Bamboo Ridge.  I especially find the last stanza so powerful:

I will
never acquire the knack
of eating fish,
especially the fish head,
the way she eats it--
having no qualms about
sucking out the brains
or the gelatinous eyes
with a slurp
and plopping from her mouth
into a cupped hand,
the eyeballs,
like pearls.

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