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The Soup, by Gary Soto

September 21, 1997

The lights off, the clock glowing 2:10,

And Molina is at the table drawing what he thinks is soup

And its carrots rising through a gray broth.

He adds meat and peppers it with pencil markings.

The onion has gathered the peas in its smile.

The surface is blurred with the cold oils squeezed from a lime.

He adds hominy and potato that bob

In a current of pork fat, from one rim to the other,

Crashing into the celery that has canoed such a long way.

Spoon handle that is a plank an ant climbs.

Saucer that is the slipped disk of a longhorn.

Napkin that is shredded into a cupful of snow.

From "New and Selected Poems" by Gary Soto (Chronicle Books: 178 pp., $12.95) Copyright 1997 Reprinted by permission.

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