David Moolten

Stone Soup

For Shira

Dying is my moth­er’s last ruse, an emp­ty saucepan

she gongs to get us to the table.

We’re adult chil­dren, not starved for each other,

just diet­ing, stingy with July 4th weekend,

time on the phone. We sip from bowls of steam, share

com­mon knowl­edge like the bare­ness of cupboards

in sto­ries, how we liked the canned stuff better,

how she cross-exam­ined the wood­en spoon

with her tongue, always putting an oar

in some­thing else. She’s the main character,

a rock sit­ting in a stream, the stream a list

of what to fetch as she brings each jug­gled pot

to a boil, every­one on their toes

peer­ing in, the water like lit­tle mouths.


David Moolten’s most recent book, Primitive Mood, won the T.S. Eliot Prize from Truman State University Press and was pub­lished in 2009. He’s a physi­cian spe­cial­iz­ing in trans­fu­sion med­i­cine, and lives, writes and prac­tices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.