Instant Ramen

Adrienne Su

Because the house was conceived by an architect
who hadn’t cooked his own meals,
the box dwelled vertically in the broom closetwhose shoji panels, designed for elegance,
slid aside to reveal a space so narrow
our perpetual case of Sapporo Ichibanshouldn’t have fit. Yet the supply seemed infinite,
taking care of all who came home hungry,
broth, an egg, a handful of spinach giving itdignity enough for a meal or a bridge
to a meal. It soothed us as children,
sick or well. Always there on short notice,it saved us from takeout, saw both parents
through days of grading and bills,
weekends of yard work. Neither junknor an emblem of struggle, it made no one fat.
Later, when I met it in public, saw it mocked,
I wanted to defend it, show it decked outwith Napa cabbage slivers, nori flakes,
bright green peas, but was taken aback—
less by the commonness, more by the disdain,as if ramen were a stage one grows out of:
mythic years of cooking on a hot plate,
studying late, not having found true love.I am ashamed to say I did not stand up.
I let everyone mock it, even mocked it myself:
grease with a side of MSG. I forgot who I was,young and hungry, sliding aside the shoji
in search of transformation,
in search of energy.

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Adrienne Su is the author, most recently, of Living Quarters (Manic D Press). Recipient of an NEA fellowship, she teaches at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Poems from her current manuscript-in-progress appear in 32 Poems, COG, Gargoyle, A Gathering of the Tribes, New England Review, and Poetry.

Prairie Schooner

Winter 2017

Lincoln, Nebraska

University of Nebraska

Kwame Dawes

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