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Esme DeVault

Nana's Wings

my teenage niece 


asks me to make Nana’s wings, 

a recipe of her grandmother, 

my mother 

who was long gone before Anna was born. 


Anna, whose name means full of grace, 

carries my mother’s first name 

which is my name too 

as her middle name 

one small thing that connects the two of them. 


my mother fried the wings crispy 

but I bake them instead 

a slight generational shift 

a yearning for more life for my mother 

whose heart gave out. 


I simmer soy sauce and beef bouillon 

golden honey, thick molasses and crystalized brown sugar 

I crush garlic and black pepper, 

and their scents linger on my fingers long after. 


best to cook them a day early 

as the longer they sit in the sauce 

the better the flavor 

that seeps into the bones. 


I wonder if Anna 

feels my mother hovering, fluttering nearby 

weathered apron and wooden spoon in hand 

as wisps of flyaway hair halo her face. 


I think she does, 

and that’s why she loves the wings so. 

I am the medium between them 

the present translator,  

an envoy from the past to evermore. 

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