From a Sow’s Ear

by Juliet S. Kono

Every bone of roast chicken we ate
at my grandparents’ we stripped
of meat and sucked, before adding them
to the bowl for Mother to take.
She washed the clacking bones
and boiled them for hours,
adding carrots, onions,
and parsley from the garden–
the only thing store-bought,
a stalk of celery, making soup
from twice-used chicken
to ladle over bowls of rice.
We cracked the bones,
sucked the marrow,
hitting the jackpot
with occasional slivers
of meat, in this surprisingly
substantial meal we finished
by picking our teeth,
and sipping our postprandial tea,
as if we were royalty.

Mother thumped watermelons,
listening for the deep-earth sound
indicating density and sweetness.
When she gave my sister and me
dripping slices, we sawed the flesh
with our teeth, and saved the seeds
in our cheeks, competed to see
who could spit more seeds
into Mother’s container.
She washed, dried,
then sautéed and salted them,
as we waited impatiently.
I didn’t know how she knew
just when to take the pan off the flame,
but I cracked them open
and ate the nutty seeds,
as they might grow
her knowledge in me.

For her budget’s sake,
Mother made genmai cha,
brown-rice tea for us,
buying green tea wholesale,
and dry-browning
her own white rice
till the kernels cracked
and bloomed like popcorn
small enough for fairies.
Her deceptively good
homemade genmai cha
tasted the same, or better,
than any store-bought.


Juliet S. Kono is the author of several books. She has appeared in many anthologies and collections and is the recipient of several awards. She is retired and lives with her husband in Honolulu.


Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “From a Sow’s Ear

  1. Ms brown

    my Mother was similar…

  2. Pingback: 인천오피 인천건마 오피쓰 OPSS4.COM

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