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Gravy

Gravy Mason-Dixon Lines P o e t ry b y m I c h a e l m c F e e Meat grease, flour and water, stirred till smooth-- it's what my forebears ate, if they were lucky. It's what my mother ate, those hard dark years she worked at a sawmill way out in the mountains, learning to live on cigarettes and coffee and cold biscuits raised from the dead by gravy. Now and then she'd cook a little for us, something to moisten and darken and quicken the bowls of bland white rice or mashed potatoes I'd shape into a cratered volcano whose steaming lava overflow improved everything it touched on my dinner plate. Good gravy's not an afterthought, a dressing, a murky cloud masking a dish's dull prospect: whether poured from a Thanksgiving china boat or a black iron skillet in Bloody Madison, it's the meal's essence, where flesh meets spirit, where fat becomes faith, where juice conveys grace as red-eye, giblet, sausage, faithful sawmill-- whenever I think of those savory names and the times I've poured or ladled or spooned then mixed and dipped and sopped up their elixir, not wanting to waste a http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
1534-1488
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Abstract

Mason-Dixon Lines P o e t ry b y m I c h a e l m c F e e Meat grease, flour and water, stirred till smooth-- it's what my forebears ate, if they were lucky. It's what my mother ate, those hard dark years she worked at a sawmill way out in the mountains, learning to live on cigarettes and coffee and cold biscuits raised from the dead by gravy. Now and then she'd cook a little for us, something to moisten and darken and quicken the bowls of bland white rice or mashed potatoes I'd shape into a cratered volcano whose steaming lava overflow improved everything it touched on my dinner plate. Good gravy's not an afterthought, a dressing, a murky cloud masking a dish's dull prospect: whether poured from a Thanksgiving china boat or a black iron skillet in Bloody Madison, it's the meal's essence, where flesh meets spirit, where fat becomes faith, where juice conveys grace as red-eye, giblet, sausage, faithful sawmill-- whenever I think of those savory names and the times I've poured or ladled or spooned then mixed and dipped and sopped up their elixir, not wanting to waste a

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 12, 2009

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