My Last Can of Tomato Soup
Three-day old coffee has thickened
into the slush of cold trafficked streets
and I can’t bring myself to throw out
the moldy grounds I’ve grown fond of.
The cuckoo clock bleats the hour
and I feel time slow to the cautious
crawl of cars on new ice.
I see the Sunday paper from the window
frozen into the gray grass like a dog’s bone.
The heater drones pathetically
like a child’s incessant chatter
while a movie plays on TV. An actor, colorized and sickly
fights off the invading body snatchers and screams
they’re here, they’re here
your souls are in danger
you’re next, you’re next
and I believe him. I’ve seen this movie before.
On the counter is my last can of tomato soup
strangely monolithic like it might
have been found in a pharaoh’s tomb.
This magic elixir once warmed numb fingers
after a long day of snowmen and snowballs.
This was my mother’s talisman when I sneezed,
the familiar can I snatched from the shelf
knowing the gold letters before I knew the word.
But I have begun to suspect that Warhol told the truth,
that this can, red and white, promises more than it delivers.
It is really only tin and paper and enriched tomatoes
masquerading as love and warmth and caring,
a child’s myth that it is time to give up.
And yet here, in the midst of another barren winter,
I open the can, spoon the thick soup,
and slowly, intently, stir.
Gayle Moran lives in Houston where she teaches communication skills to engineering students at Rice University.
The Ekphrastic Review
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