“The water should taste like the ocean,”

Heapfuls of rough salt poured from my grandmother’s palm.
She had lived for eighty years by then.  She didn’t measure anymore.
A gas flame licked blue then orange beneath her own mother’s copper cooking pot.

“It can’t be alone.”  Twists of gemilli fell into the boil.

“What can’t be alone?”  I asked, watching the pasta
settle beneath tender steam. She looked at me and my arms tucked hard
in a cross over my chest.

“Do you remember your first real heartache? How it tasted?
It was bitter, no?”

The taste came to my mouth again, of a deep ache that turns to
acid and anger. The taste of deep regret
for things not even understood.
I barely nodded. It was not so far off and my grandmother stirred the pot.

“Do you remember how the sea sounded to your ears–
the first time back to the shore with your broken heart?”

She clicked the knob and the flame stopped hissing.
The tiny pastas drew slow spirals in the salted water, waiting.

“It sounded so strong, and so loud.  It sounded more beautiful than
I had ever heard before.”

My grandmother nodded and plucked a tiny twist between her fingers and into her mouth. She smiled.

“That is salt.  It can’t be alone–it’s too bitter.  But whatever it touches it makes whole.”


Note: This poem was conceived for “Creativity Tuesday,” a weekly challenge between me and Stacy Albright, professional photographer and good friend. (See her amazing work here: Stacy Albright {images} ) We choose a theme or word and each of us must create our own interpretation of that. Hers: an image. Mine: a written piece. Deadline is Thursday.  This week’s theme: “Saltwater.”

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