Eating Together

By Li-Young Lee b. 1957 Li-Young Lee
In the steamer is the trout   
seasoned with slivers of ginger,
two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.   
We shall eat it with rice for lunch,   
brothers, sister, my mother who will   
taste the sweetest meat of the head,   
holding it between her fingers   
deftly, the way my father did   
weeks ago. Then he lay down   
to sleep like a snow-covered road   
winding through pines older than him,   
without any travelers, and lonely for no one.

Li-Young Lee, “Eating Together” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Source: Rose (BOA Editions Ltd., 1986)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Li-Young Lee b. 1957

Subjects Family & Ancestors, Eating & Drinking, Death, Youth, Living, Relationships, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Li-Young  Lee

Biography

Li-Young Lee was born in Djakarta, Indonesia in 1957 to Chinese political exiles. Both of Lee’s parents came from powerful Chinese families: Lee’s great grandfather was the first president of the Republic of China, and Lee’s father had been the personal physician to Mao Tse-tsung. In Indonesia, Dr. Lee helped found Gamaliel University. Anti-Chinese sentiment began to foment in Indonesia, however, and Lee’s father was arrested . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Eating & Drinking, Death, Youth, Living, Relationships, Activities

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.