from “Red, Requiem”

The White Girl (floating poem)

Your undaughter is born during a thunderstorm
a hurricane a nor’easter at the ocean a pop-up
blizzard in late March & April is the cruelest
month & she is born during a full moon a blue
moon a hunter’s moon a harvest
moon & you name her something
mythological or  archetypal or Gaelic or after
your  favorite doll & she is called Ariadne or
Jane or Fionnoula or Blythe & you take her to
the museum the library the playground Paris
Coney Island the Four Seasons in maryjanes
starched eyelet for high tea & she wears pigtails
wears bangs wears striped tights wears knit
cardigans & she knits or paints or writes plays
or playacts & plays the cello the piano sings
in a choirloft sings around campfires at girl
scout camp sings at bonfires on the beach
at night under fireworks & she loves peanutbutter
pickles olives softshell crabs coffee icecream ice-
skating body-surfing Shakespeare & you sing to her
hush little all the pretty little horse & cart turn over
the ocean beyond the sea & read to her Little Red

Riding Hood Little Women Little House on the

Prairie Bridge to Terabithia Narnia & when you
send her into the deep dark woods you arm her you
armor her she has a knife in her basket a needle in her
basket a bottle of wine a loaf of bread a spool of thread
a silver bullet & still & yet & everafter.

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Calypso Soup

Green Aisle Grocery, our neighborhood’s teeny but awesome boutique grocer (local milk in glass bottles; local produce, cheese, butter, meats, honey; things for which the twins go ga-ga, like quail eggs) carries Zursun Idaho Heirloom dried beans, which are really the cat’s pajamas. I’ve been working my way through the selection, & today’s sunshiney but chilly weather (after days of raw & rainy grey) seemed the perfect time to try out their Calypso beans.

Zursun Idaho Heirloom dried Calypso beans

The boys like that the beans resemble Orcas, & proclaimed it “Vegetarian Orca Soup.”  Cooked, the Calypso beans have a creamy, potato-y flavor & smooth texture. After rinsing & sorting 2 cups(ish) of the dried beans overnight (covered by a few inches of water), drain the beans & get on with the base of the soup:

Saute 4 chopped onions in a big pot (this is where the cast iron dutch oven comes out) in several glugs of olive oil. Throw in 4-5 chopped celery stalks, a few chopped carrots, 3-4 chopped red bell peppers, a cup or so of frozen corn kernels (Trader Joe’s has great frozen roasted corn, which works perfectly here), as much crushed & chopped garlic as you like (in this case, a whole head, because garlic is your friend). Salt as you go, a bit at a time, to help the vegetables sweat off their juices. Throw in a bay leaf or two (just remember to remove before serving), a tablespoon or two of ground cumin, a dash of cayenne pepper, some crushed oregano. When everything is slightly soft & the onions are translucent, add a can or box of chopped tomatoes with their juices. Add the beans, & enough water to cover by an inch. Turn up the heat, bring it all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for an hour or two, uncovered, until the beans have gone all velvety, adjusting spices to taste, just enough heat to leave a little throat-tickle.  Not as heavy as chili — brighter, lighter, but still brings the heat.  Serve with cornbread or tortilla chips.