Lisel Mueller’s poems often spring from ingenious wordplay, and the realisation of associations between surprisingly unrelated concepts. I put this down to the fact that she was not a native English speaker, and only really began to learn English as a teenager when coming to America from Germany. It does make for interesting poems, perhaps not too profound, perhaps too accessible, but pleasing nevertheless.
In this poem, the title is the key – the body of the poem functions as a development of the comparison made in the title – love is like salt.
Love Like Salt
BY LISEL MUELLER
It lies in our hands in crystals
too intricate to decipher
It goes into the skillet
without being given a second thought
It spills on the floor so fine
we step all over it
We carry a pinch behind each eyeball
It breaks out on our foreheads
We store it inside our bodies
in secret wineskins
At supper, we pass it around the table
talking of holidays and the sea.
For her next assignment – Nostalgia is like Engine Oil…
The Poetry Dude