What used to be

I was wondering why my thighs ached. I figured it out. It is because what used to be in my heart has moved to my legs, because my heart couldn’t take it.

Like when you are holding a stone platter that somebody’s grandmother brought over on their lap on a ship from some far away country when she was 14 with nothing but a piece of bread in her pocket and that platter and an address, and you drop the platter. You hit something unexpectedly with the edge of your elbow and there is the tiniest slick of grease on your fingers from the pot you have been standing over. And that is it. The platter is on the floor in pieces. Your heart can’t take that. That is why you take it in the legs. Then your legs feel weak, and it is hard to get up from the bed.

There is only so much you can think about that. I get on the train to Essex Street to buy marrow bones and chicken carcasses. I come back home, put them in the deepest pot I have, with water, carrot, celery, onion with a clove stuck in it, garlic, bouquet garni of leek, thyme, parsley and bay leaves tied with kitchen string, three cherry tomatoes, the tiniest shower of salt and a pour of olive oil. I let it simmer for a few hours. I sit there and smell it. Every fifteen or twenty minutes, you have to skim the scum that rises to the top. When it is done, you leave it for a while, just long enough so that it is not too hot to pour through a sieve. I used to throw the bones and tired veg away, but now I pick the meat off, scoop out the marrow with a spoon and float the carrot and celery in a bowl of hot broth.

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