My Mother’s Pho Soup

Molten brown as the skin of the ripe cocoa bean,
Mother’s skirt twirls as she cooks
her pho soup for Sunday fare,

she cleans the oxtail bones then turns low the heat
and in a twelve-quart stock pot they are steeped
together with scallion whites,

down-draft ventilator leeches the folding smoke
from the fragrance-laden cauldron
of liquid torrent with splintered lives,

a slop of bubbly white froths the kettle’s frame,
Mother skims the fat and heaves it aside
and pungent clouds to ceiling rise,

while the wafting spice fills the kitchen air
I climb the stool near the island’s ledge
and peer into nostalgia’s deep,

floating halved onions and seared ginger,
star anise in cheesecloth wrapped,
black cardamom too,

plump noodles drain from another boiling pot,
Mother tastes the strands for softness,
rising mist steams her eyes,

side platter: a heap of fatty flanks and boiled entrails,
slim cuts of beef with coarse tendon,
green cilantro finely minced,

Mother at the stove, bending over in her black apron,
scooping the liquid river of our cultural roots
into a terra cotta bowl,

along with tiny lick of basil leaves and fresh sprout she tosses
black pepper and lime juice for added garnish,
familiar scent strikes my hunger’s joints,

just as I breathe in deeply the perfume-pregnant air,
white wisps coat fine my horn-rimmed glasses,
choking off the savory view,

then devouring rushes in, though it makes no sound,
chopsticks gather noodle, spoon scoops broth,
my lips taste of thawing winter cold,

dregs of marrow sail across the wrinkled stock
so I tip the bowl, the liquid sloshes
and strips it bare, my belly full.

If only briefly, the fractures of beings can be sewn by
the fatty threads of mothers’ home brews
as broth of life and life’s flowing.

Lana Bella has a diverse work of poetry and flash fiction published and forthcoming with Atlas Poetica, Cecil’s Writers’ Magazine, Deltona Howl, Thought Notebook, Earl of Plaid Lit Journal, Undertow Tanka Review, Wordpool Press, Global Poetry, Family Travel Haiku, The Voices Project, and now, Eunoia Review. She resides on some distant isle with her novelist husband and two frolicsome imps.

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1 Response to My Mother’s Pho Soup

  1. Ophelia says:

    Really enjoyed this! 🙂 I loved the imagery and how all senses were captured. Great job!

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