After a storm, a quiet dinner

By Liv Kane

August 14, 2023

After a storm, a quiet dinner

We sit across from my grandfather, gone from our lives until this moment, and feed him warm rice from a plastic container balanced on my knee. When he swallows and smiles, I watch a little part of my mother heal, stitched together with each slow blink shared between them; she is a girl left behind, feeding a man who never fed her. His jaw broken from a one-sided fistfight, from sleeping on the street, his graying tongue and beating heart flashing wildly each time he chews. My mother nourishes us all into fuller brokenness, pieces of herself always somewhere in our bellies. She understands food can’t mend wounds, but it can provide a balm. Some days, she’ll tell me life forces us into hungers we simply can’t satiate alone.

So in earnest, we bake bread for the people we love. Hold fast to the tastes left in our mouths, from a dead friend’s spoon or a lover’s bottom lip or a missing family recipe. Begin to notice the soft hand that stretches back through centuries, the one that places a palm against a face to wipe life’s mess from the chin. And we finally return the favor, holding a bowl up to my mother, my grandfather, each other. We say, here, eat. I don’t know you well, I can’t heal things I can’t see. But this morning I stood in the kitchen, hands folded around what feeds you, and made this. Open if you can. Tell me what you think.


Liv Kane is a writer and filmmaker currently pursuing her MFA in Nonfiction at the University of Iowa, where she is an Iowa Arts Fellow. Her first essay collection, "Gulfwater," was published with Sunset Press in 2021. To learn more, visit


Image by Gaelle Marcel courtesy of Unsplash

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