by Dan Elman

She chisels off a hotdog
with a butter knife—
speech frozen lacks sound

yet makes the same dull thud.
I imagine she is explaining
how chicken and pork meld

into a gelatinous afternoon,
whether her lips are my lips
where sound comes from,

the crook of our noses
a German kind of Welsh.
As they balloon in the boiling

they become infant fingers
clutching the bloused water.
As I ask her to hand me the honey-

mustard I do not remind her
I prefer them fried.
She does not look at me

as she grabs the French’s golden,
says, “I’m beyond that sweet stuff,”
throws it on a bun—


-refers to the words “my mother” in  Addy Robinson McCulloch’s poem Sheets.

  1. Jeanette Gallagher

    I like the poem – I suspect I’ve fixed a few hot dogs in the same manner for my sons when I was in a hurry or had my mind on something I thought more important.

  2. I loved “gelatinous afternoon”! Thanks Dan, for sharing Muttering with us!

  3. I liked “gelatinous afternoon,” too. “Mutter” in German is “mother,” so indeed a good title for this poem, too.

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