Today in the news there is an article about salt.
It says don't eat so much of it.
It says salt is bad for your heart.
You will die younger
and young of heart
if you eat loads of salt.
Ah, but what if you love salt?
Heart and soul? I mean, what if
you REALLY LOVE salt?
When I was a girl, I loved salt so much
I would pour it on my hand and lick it.
I'd lick the tops of crackers
or suck them just for the salt.
I liked the taste of sea water.
If I wouldn't eat something,
my dad would pour salt on it
and I'd suck it right down.
I'd even lick the salt blocks
in the cow pasture.
Those are for the heifers, Mom would say
whenever she caught me.
After a while she just said,
those are for the heifers and Nin.
(She never worried
when I shared things with her cows.
She liked us about the same.)
She figured we were farm kids,
immune to germs, unlike those delicate urbanites
in their antiseptic homes.
What do they do in there,
she'd ask sometimes when we drove
through the burbs, the TV lights flickering.
We didn't own a TV.
And Mom could never sit still anyhow
or stay inside.
She liked being in the garden or fields.
And she liked cows.
I never understood how anyone could like cows.
They're dumb and smelly.
They fart and shit and eat all day long.
But Mom used to say
we have a lot in common with cows.
We, too, like to eat and eat and eat.
All day long we like to eat.
And we like salt.
She admitted she liked salt too.
Once I even got her to lick a salt block
herself. Admittedly it was a new block,
not one that had been in the fields yet,
not yet softened and smoothed by cow tongues.
She said it wasn't so bad.
She even agreed when I said salt licks
are some of the best-tasting salt ever.
I suggested we could serve something like it
as an appetizer. Little cubes of cow salt
for guests. I thought about it for years.
How you could hold the cubes in your mouth
and suck them down like sugar.
That way I, for one, would be sure I died
when I was still young at heart.
Who wants to die with an old heart?
Not having enjoyed the salt of life?
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
2 weeks ago