I had a few potatoes once
that I’d set aside to use for seed,
but I was hungry and I thought
resourceful, so I cut out the eyes
with an old knife, hoping to save
a few for spring. Left on the board,
jagged and lopped, the potatoes looked
like a map of countries, one split-off
from another following some dispute.
I was poor and doing different jobs
back then and dreaming what I might be,
as if what I was were nothing yet,
and I was reading and listening
and going into the woods at night.
The potatoes I cut into smaller chunks
and dropped them into the cook pot
with about a gallon of water, some pepper
and the little bit of salt I had.
I lit the fire and let it cook,
simmering it for hours. I called
it soup, and I wanted it to last.
Maurice Manning‘s most recent book is Railsplitter. He teaches at Transylvania University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. He lives with his family in Kentucky.