The kitchen weeps onion because
the cook is dead. Pans strike chorus, and the ladles
keep a knock-kneed stride. Burners
gleam more brightly. Chives, chives, and chives. Everyone seems
so tired, but the diners cannot sleep. The kitchen tonight
weeps onion, so everyone else must weep.
What’s the use in talking? Let’s touch, and
turn apart. The cook is quiet, cold, unearthly, and
the turnip breaks its heart.
Canadian-American poet James Arthur is the author of The Suicide’s Son (Véhicule Press, 2019) and Charms Against Lightning (Copper Canyon Press, 2012). His poems have also appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The New York Review of Books, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and The London Review of Books. He has received the Amy Lowell Travelling Poetry Scholarship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Stegner Fellowship, a Discovery/The Nation Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship to Northern Ireland, and a Visiting Fellowship at Exeter College, Oxford. Arthur lives in Baltimore, where he teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. (updated 10/2019)