On the day of your scan I make a soup
to wean us from meat. Beans soak and blanch
an hour while I slit open the cell-
ophane wrap on the celery, chopping
the ribs into small pieces, the size
of the stones that follow an avalanche.
Carrots sliced into see-through orange mem-
branes, others hacked into jagged boulders, bi-
sected as though by the pressure of shift-
ing plates. Onions, at knifepoint, suppurate
and toss themselves into the hot oil. What
is left? two blind see-no-evil potatoes.
Sweet herbs; I pull apart ovate leaves
of basil and sweet marjorum. Red kidney
beans slip out of their bladder skins, rubbing
against the Great Limas. Together,
they give off a kind of scum which keeps down
the foaming boil: instead it heaves and
swells, trembling like a bosom, but does not
spill out. Thank God for scum! I rinse my knife,
watching its gleaming edge rotate under
the water; now there is only the wait.
—Peggy Penn, “The Soup”
Film Still from Jeanne Dunning’s Icing