The Best Meals of My Life

When I crack an egg
I usually think
of the French girl
who lived downstairs
in the boarding house
where I endured
the winter following
my first marriage.
She would never
go to bed with me
but showed me instead
in her generosity
how to slip my finger
in a circle inside
the two halves of
a freshly broken
egg shell to extract
the last slick white
to dribble it into
the skillet. Her parents
had lived through
Nazi poverty & she
lectured me profligate
& depraved on thrift
& virtue. Out of kindness
she gave me instead
of what I wanted
meals of potatoes
& eggs & that is
the way, isn't it, of virtue
to give not pleasure
but what is necessary
to sustain life: eggs
& potatoes & salt
over which it becomes
possible to talk
& even to think.
Life of the body,
life of the mind.

- Joseph Duemer

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