Daniel Nyikos was born in Germany into a U.S. military family. His mother is Hungarian and his father is an American of Hungarian descent. The family moved a lot during his early school years, mostly in America and the Netherlands. His poetry has been featured in Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column, “American Life in Poetry.”
To read Daniel Nyikos’ poem, “Potato Soup,” click here:
by Daniel Nyikos
I set up my computer and webcam in the kitchen
so I can ask my mother’s and aunt’s advice
as I cook soup for the first time alone.
My mother is in Utah. My aunt is in Hungary.
I show the onions to my mother with the webcam.
“Cut them smaller,” she advises.
“You only need a taste.”
I chop potatoes as the onions fry in my pan.
When I say I have no paprika to add to the broth,
they argue whether it can be called potato soup.
My mother says it will be white potato soup,
my aunt says potato soup must be red.
When I add sliced peppers, I ask many times
if I should put the water in now,
but they both say to wait until I add the potatoes.
I add Polish sausage because I can’t find Hungarian,
and I cook it so long the potatoes fall apart.
“You’ve made stew,” my mother says
when I hold up the whole pot to the camera.
They laugh and say I must get married soon.
I turn off the computer and eat alone.
“Potato Soup” © 2010 by Daniel Nyikos