"New York-Style Hungarian Stew" is meant to convey the complications of divorce and remarriage in the life of one particular New Yorker. Using a trail of food to lead to the conclusion of the poem is a style Ruth employs in several of her poems.
In the darkest corner of my living room,
I wait to eat. A stone's throw away,
my ex lives with our kids, his goulash
wafting reek into my open windows.
Through the one in my master bedroom,
the man could easily catch sight of his successor
swaddled in goose-down, identical in color
to the old comforter I could see, if I cared to,
just beyond my window, on the bed where
I'd been fed, "I'll cherish you always."
Abutting that room, the den with surround-
sound TV, where the vulgarian had charmed
the panties off me during commercials, turning
up his volume so I could grasp every syllable
of his accented endearments, his excuses.
Adjacent, our son and daughter's rooms
(now, with suitcases the children bring back
and forth each weekend); and down the hall,
the state-of-the art kitchen where my louse ex
still plays chef. How I'd wished he'd played
spouse with as much know-how and gusto. Oh,
how he'd cooked and cooked our goose, served it
up every chance he got, till I got good and fed
up and fled to an old flame in a brownstone
across the way—where, at this very moment, I sit
with the stench of the dish my ex is, no doubt, cooking
to death, and the essence of my Crock-pot stew
cooking up a storm, inextricably mesh.
© 2014 by Ruth Sabath Rosenthal. All Rights Reserved.