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  • Frozen Frame: The Kitchen, 1959
  • Herman Asarnow (bio)

Dry on the edge of the porcelain sink a square bar of homemade kosher soap alive with lye, white shot through with waves of blue-green iridescence – left, a dimpled steel two-gallon pot burbles turbulence, a beef tongue thrusts triangular into air like the gagging bull's in Guernica. From behind, a mother – tense, stretched against the green Formica countertop and sink, her left hand about to grasp the nasty soap, her right wrenching him hard, her boy of nine, whose feet dangle from the counter, whose head's whipped back, tongue thrust out for washing: brackish silhouette against the kitchen window, a single frame of cinema from a full-length sequence – and he, as if his older brother, now outside the storm door, frozen with mouth open, incapable of breaking time's blurred plane, not wanting film to whir to life this stew of tongues and sons, lies and desperate mothers.

Herman Asarnow

Herman Asarnow’s poems, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in the Southern Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, West Branch, and the Marlboro Review, among others.



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