Empty Heart Vegetable
In the Chinese restaurant we were eating
delicate green leaves with stalks like
bloodless arteries. My husband said they call this
Empty Heart Vegetable. I looked down at the plate
and I ate the words.
First there was my milk with the sweet flower
smell that matched the smell in back of your ears;
later French toast with the crusts cut off,
and chicken soup always chicken soup.
In the teen years, it was lasagna and spaghetti,
for a crowd.
Now it is all partings and hasty dinners.
Empty Heart Vegetable --
Your children feed it to you at fifty,
in little bites sitting by the phone
or listening for the key in the lock,
then one really big portion as you are loading
up the car for college. It becomes a staple
of your diet and you eat it plain or sometimes
disguised by sweet and sour sauce
until you get used to it.
My kitchen is too clean
and my heart is heavy
with its hollowness.
Maybe I could use it in a stew.
Published in OLLI Review, Fall 2011