Fall 2020, Volume 29

Poetry by Robbi Nester

Cooking Your Way Home

Today, while morning light still slants
onto the cold tile floor, when the house
is quiet, put on some John Prine tunes.
Lay out ingredients for a recipe you’ve
cut out of the paper every year, but never
made—salmon gefilte fish. At the farmer’s
market, choose thick bouquets of dill
and parsley, woody twigs of thyme. Later,
under your knife, their fragrance will bring
the market home. Your mother thought
that jarred was good enough; you disagree.
There’s never been a live carp swimming
in your bathtub, as in your grandmother’s.
Instead, use a food processor, boxed
matzo meal, not just the brunt of a blunt
knife, not even half as sharp as hers.
Now, when you’re spending so much time
alone, it’s time to savor the intention,
join with generations of women
making the same dish for a hundred
years, dropping soft fistfuls
of fish bound with beaten egg
into the broth, feather light and sweet.




BIO: Robbi Nester is the author of 4 books of poetry, including Balance (White Violet, 2012) and three collections: A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014), Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017), and Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019). She has also edited two anthologies, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and an ekphrastic e-book, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees, which was published as a special edition of Poemeleon Poetry Journal. Robbi is currently editing another anthology, The Plague Papers, which celebrates virtual museums of all kinds. Her poetry, reviews, essays, and articles have appeared widely.