A Ham Boil Later

Love in Place

I really don’t remember falling in love all that much

I remember wanting to bake corn bread and boil a ham and I
certainly remember making lemon pie and when I used to smoke I
stopped in the middle of my day to contemplate

I know I must have fallen in love once because I quit biting

my cuticles and my hair is gray and that must indicate
something and I all of a sudden had a deeper appreciation
for Billie Holiday and Billy Strayhorn so if it wasn’t love I don’t
know what it was

I see the old photographs and I am smiling and I’m sure quite

happy but what I mostly see is me
through your eyes
and I am still young and slim and very much committed to the
love we still have
–Nikki Giovanni
When I was a freshman in college, Suz copied the above poem from the New Yorker magazine and gave it to me around Valentines Day. I thought about it last night when I wrote about my mix tapes that included somber Billie Holiday tunes (followed up by the Beastie Boys “Brass Monkey” or the immortal “Don’t Go There” because that is what a mix tape is supposed to be). I rummaged around to find where I had saved it and thought to myself, what could possibly have possessed two eighteen year old girls to save this poem? Whatever it was, I think Suz was already wiser then and could sense that this poem would be more understood a dozen or more years later, in retrospect. And now, perhaps that is the case, if for no other reason than that I have now baked corn bread and several lemon pies, although never have boiled a ham.

One thought on “A Ham Boil Later

  1. Not wiser then, just sentimental. I have never boiled a ham either, but one time when Drew and I were dating I made a whole lime meal for him. Well, I made chicken cutlets adobo (very limey) and key lime pie. The silly thing is that I am much more fond of lime than Drew is. But the point is that I wanted to cook for him. After nearly five years of marriage I finally cook more than he does, and I still have a lot to live up to. What a good man!

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