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Peter Schireson: Cauliflower Soup


I try and get it right, 

how she loves the cauliflower soup 

in that little Italian place uptown 

with dark red walls

and the grumpy old maitre d’ 

with cauliflower ears, and how

it’s those ears that help me recall 

her beloved cauliflower soup.

But then she reminds me

it’s actually brussels sprouts

she orders uptown,

that the walls aren’t dark red—

that’s a different spot—and that 

the maitre d’ must be from a time

and place before we ever met,

if he’s real at all.

She’s right, of course, right

about everything, and I see

I’ve bent another indelible line 

she’s drawn with the ink

of time and place, 

and that I can’t be trusted 

not to order cauliflower soup for her.

At the same time,

I am very fond of my old maitre d’

with the cauliflower ears,

grumpy as he is.


Peter Schirerson lives in Palo Alto, California. Originally from Los Angeles, he went to school at Cal Berkeley, University of Victoria, and Harvard University. He has studied Zen Buddhism in the U.S and Japan and is a priest and Dharma lineage holder in the Suzuki Roshi Soto Zen lineage. Peter is the author of The Welter of Me and You published by Autumn House Press.

One comment on “Peter Schireson: Cauliflower Soup

  1. jfrobb
    February 2, 2019

    I’m laughing, shaking my head, and saying out loud ‘Yes that is exactly the way it is.’
    Well done – thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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