Isabel Galgano

For Making Soup (or, To the Bells)

As a child, I wrote recipes for squirrels 
             so they could make soup 
             from acorns and twigs. 

—Maybe then I should have known 
                             that I needed 
                             to write poetry—

This is what I can tell you:
	      The bells from the church always chime 
	      when there is still a minute left in the hour.
                             The rope in the giant ginkgo has its own branches.
                             It receives messages from the owls 
                             that grab at heads running by.

                                             The past is something completely on its own to me;
             I don’t believe
             that things happen 
             for a reason.

Take this life and grip it in your fists. 
Pull your bodyweight up 
with your own arms. These bells count 
             backwards as much as forwards.
                             Tolling, tolling.

                             What is given to you 
                             in this recipe is perhaps 
                             a little less than is needed. 
             (Or maybe more than you can really know all at once.)
But the rest is in found things:
                             celebratory clovers, 
                             and soil that pushes you up 
                             from the roots of your shoes. 
There are five things to see,
three things to smell,
one to pull on until it carries you itself.

Nourish the hips with the back 
                             and the braided bark 
                             and the air 
                             and the tolling. 
             This is something very old and yet quite new.

Isabel Galgano is a senior at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She is pursuing a dual degree in English in the Area Program for Poetry Writing and Government. Her poetry has appeared in Spires Magazine and V Magazine. Isabel loves to read, cook, and go for long runs. She will be teaching creative writing to K-12 kids in North Carolina next year.

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