egg salad in april

An ode to the poems that feed me.


Joel Lee, Contributing Writer

Written and Performed by
Joel Lee

Animations by
Charlie Dodge

Video Edited by
Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes

Read a transcript of Joel’s poem below.

today i cried while learning how to make egg salad. ten hard-boiled eggs. ten cucumbers. one carrot. an onion. a potato. and three quarters of an apple. dice all the ingredients except julienne the cucumbers. add a dash of vinegar to the boiling water for the eggs. any vinegar will do. salt the vegetables and let sit for forty five minutes. take a cloth bag and squeeze the excess water. fiddle your fingers until you find somewhere safe to land.

my grandmother looks on at me, confused at my rapid note taking. “don’t boil the water first. let the eggs come up with the heat.” this is a practice i hold no ground in. she laughs in stanzas and verses. squeezing mayo is like writing the last line of a poem. only done when it’s sandwiched in toasted white bread. her shoulders ache now. 

today i notice that the front yard cherry tree has bloomed. it is early april. the arrival of blossoms only means that they will soon disappear. scatter like glitter until i find petals in my pockets and on the bathroom floor. i come outside to say hello to realize that the tree is a grafted one: two trees fused on top of one another — a horizon line appears where the two barks meet. the rootstock is the part of the tree that knows the ground well. 

“will this be enough?” as i stir everything together. she nods. tears running down my cheeks. pink petals blow past the kitchen window. “did you know that the cherry tree outside is grafted? that there are two trees in one?” she shakes her head no. and i cannot think of anything else. i have returned to this house. this kitchen. this horizon. 

Email Joel Lee at [email protected]