Potato Soup

By Daniel Nyikos Daniel Nyikos
I set up my computer and webcam in the kitchen
so I can ask my mother’s and aunt’s advice
as I cook soup for the first time alone.
My mother is in Utah. My aunt is in Hungary.
I show the onions to my mother with the webcam.
“Cut them smaller,” she advises.
“You only need a taste.”
I chop potatoes as the onions fry in my pan.
When I say I have no paprika to add to the broth,
they argue whether it can be called potato soup.
My mother says it will be white potato soup,
my aunt says potato soup must be red.
When I add sliced peppers, I ask many times
if I should put the water in now,
but they both say to wait until I add the potatoes.
I add Polish sausage because I can’t find Hungarian,
and I cook it so long the potatoes fall apart.
“You’ve made stew,” my mother says
when I hold up the whole pot to the camera.
They laugh and say I must get married soon.
I turn off the computer and eat alone.

Poem copyright ©2010 by Daniel Nyikos. Reprinted by permission of Daniel Nyikos.

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Poet Daniel Nyikos

Biography

Born in Germany to a Hungarian mother and an American father of Hungarian descent, poet and fiction writer Daniel Nyikos earned a BA and an MA at Utah State University. His poetry has been featured in former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry.” A doctoral student in fiction at the University of Nebraska, Nyikos has served as an editorial assistant for Prairie Schooner.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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