Going With the Grain


He wrote that she was “his one and only” and she wrote back “me too,” then added that she’d eaten millet that night.

She knew even as she typed the double lls that it was odd. Because what she was thinking of was his skin.

It was spiced with cinnamon, she wrote, and clove, not mentioning that she had a recipe once that added carrot.

But what she was thinking of was his flesh, ochred by blanket, the grain of thighs, and how when only a sheet was at issue the shadows of pelvis turned violet as eve-filled sky.

And she had eaten millet that evening, by chance, but what had actually come to mind was a time, years before, when the world angled cellophane, windows leered unattainable purpose, drowning fish glistened on outside ice, and love had gone as grey as the sidewalk, and as stained, and she had stepped through her disconnect into a shop whose green linoleum was spotted orange and there in a dull bag- a dull stack of bags–for their contours didn’t have the brittle brightness of squared wrap – the print read “millets”–and she had laughed for a change, even bought a bag for him, a different him, who may have laughed too, seeing it.

There is something torturous about being a thing that needs an other to be itself, that has no true singular; there is simply no sense in “a millet,” pelleted longing–

So when this he, her he, proffered love across a sky even deeper than violet, she could only say “me too,” and write him of millet like a fool.

Even though he couldn’t possibly understand, not speaking millet, so maybe it was herself she wrote to, telling that girl in the shop that there really was life after life, a savor to cleave to.

“Miss you,” she added, for him.

Here’s a sort of a prose poem about millet, which I don’t cook nearly enough. I’ve been terribly busy and there have been all kinds of great prompts in the online poetry world that I haven’t had the focus to address. Sorry to those who did those great prompts. I have enjoyed reading of them! Take care.

PS I have been honored to be included in the wonderful new dVerse Poets Anthology edited by Frank Watson. It is a lovely book, with poets from all over, and visual works too (including one of my drawings!) Thank you, Frank. Check it out here.

Pps = I keep mucking around with the last line since posting.  Agh.  k. 

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12 Comments on “Going With the Grain”

  1. brian miller Says:

    smiles…i like the story you tell of her and of them through the millet…of their love and life after….the torturousness of being a non singular thing (at times) had….i like…a cute vignette with feeling…..

  2. ayala Says:

    I enjoyed this, Wonderfully penned.

  3. A lovely write, Karin. I know nothing about millet, but now when I think of it, I’ll think it’s beautiful.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    So many little gems of lines and images in this –‘…violet as eve-filled sky..’ fish drowning on ice and love grey as sidewalk…the central premise, of being something that needs an other to be itself…really becomes real and vital in the context you give it, very natural and right feeling, the emotions warm and nourishing as your metaphor grain. I also like the Warholian illustration. The many colors of millet, which has none except what you put there. An excellent, satisfying piece of writing, k. Made a great breakfast.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks! I felt like I cheated a bit with the illustration which made heavy use of a couple of different iPad apps, but I did feel that it also was sort of appropriate. That is a very good way of putting it – in terms of one coloring whatever one things of with a whole range of association. Thanks again. k.

  5. janehewey Says:

    your long, middle stanza was mouth-watering, and the whole piece a great long story poem, artfully done. love as grey as the sidewalk really spoke volumes and juxtaposed nicely with your warm colors in the spices, carrots, ochre flesh and violet sky. delight here.

    I once baked a cake using primarily millet grain. It tasted like earth, almost like dirt just rolled in… and I loved it! nourishing–like your poem.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. Millet is super good in bread. I used to make a lot of sour dough and add it in both cooked and raw. They also make a great millet gluten free bread.

      I edited the end–probably since yo uread. This is probably a prose poem where my editing may not have improved it though as more was like the middle.

      I am having great difficulty getting much open time these days so may focus on little sketches, as prose is something that comes much more naturally to me. I miss working on things but have just had to simplify every “extra” in my life, even if it is central to my intellectual/creative life. Of course, if you do that too much, you get quite depressed. Hoping things will ease up soon. Thanks so much for your comment. k.

  6. Karin, sometimes I think when we are busiest and have no time to write or participate in our poetry communities, there’s stuff brewing inside, just waiting to be manifested. This is one of those poems, I suspect, read on multiple levels. For me, the inclusion of colors made it especially “delicious.”

  7. Marvelous conclusion k… “Even though he couldn’t possibly understand, not speaking millet, so maybe it was herself she wrote to, telling that girl in the shop that there really was life after life, a savor to cleave to.

    “Miss you,” she added, for him”
    Thank you for your inquiry about my health~ I’m getting stronger dear. Happy to be reading you! Faithfully D

  8. The main reason why I enjoyed your prose-poem today? Not just because it’s finely written and I’m used to that sort of quality now. But also, because yesterday I made Nyonya chicken for the first time and had to mix turmeric with curry powder, garlic, shallots and garlic with the chicken and my fingers (especially my nails) were yellow after. I looked at the images at the beginning of your post and thought of the turmeric and curry powder in my hands. In fact some of it was still there. Great post, great prose-poem, thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  9. Jamie Dedes Says:

    Very fine and clever and will never prepare millet again without think of your prose-poem. 🙂

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