Melissa Broder
When the Second Avenue Deli became

a bank he got the flu. I made him Jewish

penicillin, me—a vegetarian—

ripping chicken off


the bone; a blizzard of egg noodles, fresh dill,

martyrdom, and parsnips, seeking praise, results,

it worked. He stopped crying about his muscles,

I started looking


at the real estate listings. A year later

we learned his immune system had gone bankrupt.

The liver doc said: Liver. The blood doc: Blood.

The psychologist


called it psychophysiologic illness.

But I was going to heal him with pea soup,

conjure some babushka spirits from shtetl

realms and make it all


better. The docs did what docs do. A teaspoon

of Galantamine, a small pinch of Valcyte,

a half cup of Immune Globulins fumet.

Stir, simmer, and blend.


He still couldn't get out of bed. I made more

soup. African peanut, escarole and bean,

zucchini cheese, alphabet. Everyone,

it seemed, had someone


to recommend. A healer in Ithaca

Uncle David went to see. A sage in Taos.

A D.O. with a radio show. Hope soup.

Snake oil salesman soup.

  Melissa Broder is a literary publicist getting her MFA in poetry from The City College of New York. She is the recipient of the 2008 Stark Poetry Prize in Honor of Raymond Patterson and The 2008 Jerome Lowell Dejur Award. Her work has most recently appeared in: Opium Magazine, Del Sol Review and Flesh.
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