Love Poem to Soto

in Magelang the first time i held
you   given to me by a kindly woman
who laughed when i said “no ayam” (“no chicken”)
i expected nothing
you exist with such simplicity   broth
clear as a warm gold day
bean sprouts    tofu    tempe    cabbage    shallots
rice from the verdant paddies of Java
it was love at first taste
the first bowl of you quenched a physical hunger
the second quenched the hunger
in my soul
from each spoonful the mountains of Java unfolded Gunung Merapi
lush bananas leaves beaconing
the jungles palm trees came forth
the terraced rice paddies unfolded
steppes of young strapling rice
with each spoonful   Borodudur unfolded each carved stone story
each Buddha each stupta
each memory of water and stone
yet to me
how familiar
you are   your sweet juices
by what routes did i come to you?
planes trains and buses
distances long and far away
how long have i dreamt of you distinct
as the pho of my Vietnam
the Javanese landscape glistens on your surface
your body swirling yellow with kunyit (tumeric)
a dawning sun
O Soto dancing
on my tongue
how long have i dreamt of you?

For Komunitas Utan Kayu, with gratitude

“SOTO” IS A TYPICAL INDONESIAN SOUP MADE FROM VARIOUS INGREDIENTS SUCH AS RICE, MEAT, VEGETABLES, ETC.

Printed from Cerise Press: http://www.cerisepress.com

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