Stone Telling

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Tortilla Soup

by William Doreski

Watching you brew tortilla soup
in the bathtub amazes me.
A tray of tortillas, two heads
of cabbage, a dozen carrots,
a slew of potato pancakes,
fish heads, carrots, and beef shanks-

and then you run the hot water
and stir with a softball bat.
The muscles in your lean arms creak
You grunt as the mixture slathers red
when you pour in Tabasco sauce
and salsa. A few sheep lungs

fried in lard. Parboiled mushrooms,
psychedelic. A bucket or two
of corn chips. When the soup looks grim
as the drainage of an abattoir
you ladle it into kettles
to cook on the range for a day

or two before you serve bowlfuls
to each of the bristling men
you've loved. While you feed
and flatter your lapsed paramours
I inspect the empty bathtub.
I'm impressed by the residue,

thick as a layer of napalm.
The men cough blood after eating
their first bowl, spit bone and gristle
after their second. Their breath
smells brutal as an afterbirth,
and they belch with justified pride.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. His most recent collection of poetry is Waiting for the Angel (2009). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell's Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals, including Massachusetts Review, Notre Dame Review, The Alembic, New England Quarterly, Harvard Review, Modern Philology, Antioch Review, Natural Bridge.