Yesterday’s rain informs me I’m born of luck and blended
strands, of hope and words forged before a common tongue emerged.

Of my first two languages only one still breathes.

The other manifests in exile, in blurred images and hummed tunes.

Rice is my staple. I eat it without regarding its English etymology,
its transition from Sanskrit to Persian and Greek, to Latin, to French.

Flooding is not mandatory in cultivation, but requires less effort.

Rice contains arsenic, yet I crave its polished grains.

In my monolingual home we still call it gohan, literally cooked rice, or meal.
The kanji character, bei, also means America.

Representing a field, it symbolizes abundance, security, and fertility.

Three rice plants tied with a rope. Many. Life’s foundation.

To understand Japan, look to rice. To appreciate breadth, think gohan.
Humility exemplified: sake consists of rice, water and mold.

The words we shape predicate a communion of aesthetics.

Miscomprehension inhabits consequence.

* * *

“Rice” has appeared here twice before, and is included in my chapbook-length work, The Circumference of Other, published in Ides, a one-volume collection of fifteen chapbooks published by Silver Birch Press and available on Amazon.com.


30 thoughts on “Rice

  1. Just as rice is welcome on my plate again and again, you can keep bringing this poem to the table again and again. Today’s grabber for me is the arsenic and crave pairing … I’ll ponder that over lunch, over rice. (A weekly whopping batch ensures darn near daily servings; definitely a staple, arsenic cannot deter.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rice is simple yet delicious plain and simple. I love the organic brown basmati rice for breakfast. I make a batch for the week. I never knew about the arsenic in rice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The greatest thing to eat is a giant pot of steamed rice covered in butter and soy sauce until it is a buttery pot of gloop and you strain the rice out to eat it spoonful by spoonful! That was my college late night meal (while watching episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) after 6 to 8 hours of saxophone practice and a super hot shower. Absolute heaven! Way too many carbs for me now in one sitting, but back then boy! what a heavenly feeling!

    Liked by 1 person

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