Burned Rice

To make a pot of rice,

rinse a cup of grains 

two or three times.

Add one and a half 

cups of water, a little 

salt and butter, bring 

the pot to a boil, then

simmer covered. Don’t 

let it bubble over.

Remove from heat

and fluff with a fork 

when the water is gone.

Once my mother came home, 

found my father’s hair 

gone like brownish 

wisps of mind 

filling up the basin

of the bathroom sink,

spilling onto the linoleum.

She sent us outside.

She started making rice.

In the garden we

watched the rabbits 

and tasted late summer 

broccoli, ignoring

broken ceramic 

voices, smashed 

videocassette dreams,

bitter love burned.

Once when you and I 

had company over,

I burned the rice.

Everyone tried to reassure me.

They said it tasted fine,

But I was so goddamn devastated

by the 

uniforms and blue lights 

in my father’s eyes

and the burned rice

in my mother’s hair.

Ben Boegehold, a bearded man standing in front of a lighthouse.

Ben Boegehold is a graduate of the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of literary journals, including The Cincinnati Review, The Stonecoast Review, Cider Press Review, and Canary – A Literary Journal of the Environmental Crisis. He’s also a teacher, gardener, sourdough enthusiast, and avid sea kayaker.