When the children / correctly used their chopsticks to pick up the rolled eggs and / separated the kimchi without splinters, they knew they were / loved by their food. The ashes knew it too.
Once you were in the family, they say you never left, not even in
death. The Kims liked to coat their rice cookers with ashes and
season them into their cabbages to ferment & hibernate. The
ashes replaced breadcrumbs, mingled with their salt. Soon, they
the air, lined their sun-dry windowsills and their digestive tracts.
They had no need for a barrier plot to overlook the coast, to skim
the mountains, to be visible through their kitchen window as they
ate supper around a wooden table and donated their prayers to
realms they will never enter, people they may never consume.
They always had great dining etiquette. The youngest children
poured tea and distilled water from glass pitchers without handles
and left no fingerprints. The oldest daughter set the table, utensils
on top of the napkin on top of porcelain on top of a lace runner, in
that order. The mother picked up the silver spoon into her mouth
and coated her tongue with luck. The spoon was salivating too.
This is how the
family loved through their generations. When the children
correctly used their chopsticks to pick up the rolled eggs and
separated the kimchi without splinters, they knew they were
loved by their food. The ashes knew it too. Perhaps the Kims
knew where to go, which watermelon-door to knock on and what
was the purest form of organic satiation. Or they didn’t know
how to let go, to walk six feet elevated after the burial or plant
their ashes into saplings that may one day wither. When they
open the blinds the house shivers and so do their ancestors. When
they sign the death certificates their stomach contorts into a
funeral. For the food that warmed your hands and sustained your
bones, this is all true. You are of birth.