Comfort Foods


The diner off the exit
of the highway
in Rhode Island
serves home cooking,
and he feeds me there.
Broke, alone, scared —
“Eat,” he tells me,
and nods for the waitress
to refill my glass of milk.

• • •

He arrives as rescue remedy —
parents, divorce, drama —
packs my things
in a small suitcase,
puts on my coat for the snow.
Seats me at dinner with his family —
and cherry chocolate cake —
then tucks me in by the light of
a fish tank in his childhood room.

• • •

On the stove, a pot boils,
and I hear the sound
of making things —
a family recipe for
chicken and dumplings.
A family recipe for
recovery from
incisions in my belly.
She, my gift of comfort.

• • •

WORDS: ©2013, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Meal Variation – Eatenby Roy Lichtenstein, Daniel Spoerri, 1964.

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