Thursday, August 26, 2010

Almond Milk

Poem of the Day:
"Milk" by Melissa Stein
Harvard Review, Number 38

I was wary when I first tried it. Almond milk contains no lactose, is completely vegan. It is a mixture of almonds and water masquerading as milk. But, it is actually very delicious.

I have recently stopped drinking milk, preferring this nut juice to that cow liquid. Milk goes bad. Almond milk stays for months. It adds a nice nutty flavor to my cereal. Milk is sometimes difficult to digest. Almond milk, at least the product I drink, has calcium, so I'm not missing out on those strong bones.

As my love for this dairy substitute has grown, I came upon this poem of the day. Here is Stein's piece:


The nurse has made up the bed so crisply.
Tucked the corners' rote origami
so soundly into the aluminum frame.

Your lips glisten, moistened with a square
of sponge. I hold your hand—weightless
thing of parchment and twig—

no more your daughter than a seed
cast from hoof-split rattlegrass, no more than
an asterisk sprung from thistle, caught, wished upon,

let go. I inhale the antiseptic scent of bay,
of balsam. Rooted here, in this cheap plastic chair,
as if I'll miss something,

as if my missing it would matter.
Just as—branch-snap to feeding deer, wing-shadow
to the scuttling mouse—it has always mattered.

The window frames a square of light
white and blameless as milk. I turn from you
and drink, and drink, and drink.

Almond milk is not as "white" as the "square of light" that Stein describes, her grief and inability to place this moment of her mother's struggle nearly blinding her. Almond milk is beige. It would not work as well in this poem. Also, the assonance in "as almond milk" makes for a stumbling read. Sometimes, milk is best.

But for now, I'm weighing my options.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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