11 August 2009 | Vol. 9, No. 2

Tofu and Potatoes


We are playing house and you are chopping vegetables. "Come here," you say, slipping a piece of pepper inside my mouth. I taste nothing but your fingers. Outside it snows, the bay gray wind. We turn on too many lights, sit at the table. "We should have a dog right now," you say. Pepper flecks your teeth but I love you anyway, at least that's what my throat tells my mouth.

7 p.m.

It is evening and the dark climbs through the window, sits down beside us on the couch, demands the remote control. We curl our legs together, socks to socks, my hand pressed on your lower belly. "What if you suddenly stopped breathing," I say, imagining your death, the funeral, the useless black shoes. I smile, bury my nose in your dirty dark hair.

10:30 p.m.

In the bathroom our clothes lay scattered like dead bodies. This can't be helped. The water is warm but not hot, shadows washing us like soap. We are too pale, our skin covered with purple soft highways, rivers, freeway exits. "Once I saw a truck named God," I say, because your body is more perfect than mine. We dry with thick white towels, sit down on the floor. The clock ticks.


The wreckage of our bodies in bed does us no favors, it sinks us in, pulls us under. You move too fast, take too much. "Leave something for me," I want to say, but I concentrate on your breathing, the words I can't hear. Years from now I'll remember these words, soft, voiceless; whispered with the taste of potatoes and last night's garlic bread.

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For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Cinthia Ritchie at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 9, No. 2, where "Tofu and Potatoes" ran on August 11, 2009. List other work with these same labels: poetry, prose poem.

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