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.
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.
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.
© Melissa Broder All Rights Reserved