Chicken Corn Soup
Despite corn’s known origins,
the dish proclaims itself German,
known as Dutch here in Cumberland
Valley. While it has in common
with my forebears a non-aversion
to bird feet and on occasion
giblets, the soup I first knew as chicken
corn contained neither. Suburban,
Georgian, and as proud as any neighbor
of our own Jimmy Carter,
I saw no contradiction in Del Monte
and Swanson in a Chinese recipe;
that was how it had always been.
For this comforting one, you opened
two cans (broth, creamed corn),
warmed the contents in a saucepan,
then added watercress for an instant
first or last course, actual chicken
optional. But now that I’ve dwelled in
Dutch country for a generation,
the name evokes a hearty main,
a long-simmered production
dependent on sweet corn in season,
although most cravings kick in
when it snows. Thus the solution:
in winter, be a Chinese American
from nineteen seventy-seven;
in summer, check out the garden.
The International Aisle: Asia
Taste of ____.
Cup O’ Noodles.
Chinese Restaurant Tea.
Envelopes: curry, miso soup.
My Mother's Pantry
rice wine, wine rice,
gefilte fish, Dole fruit cocktail,
thousand-year eggs, chrysanthemum
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
the preserved plums
that you hauled
on the plane
you were probably
for the rest of the year
they were memory incarnate
and so sour