Eat fast, but with perfect
and then get the hell away from the table
before spicy hot scorn is ladled into dessert cups;
left hand on lap, napkin spread, speak only when spoken to – no!
tonight we speak freely
no! tonight we hush
no! tonight we cry
why this evening torment? Why?
Food is fuel, nothing
To be gobbled while on the run.
Taste buds shriveled with unlikely combinations:
Oreos and Killian’s Red
Brownies and white grapefruit juice
And just a bit of common
sense . . .
with vegetables, grated cheese, toasted bread,
followed always by one more cup of coffee, one more cigarette.
Fast food fly-bys, vending machines, all-night diners
Cheap and easy.
Just as the whole
felt obligated to comment on every morsel I ate – or didn’t! while
growing a baby . . .
They also opined
in monotonous buzzing,
obnoxious clouds of gnats creating thunderstorms of anxiety:
breast is best?
homemade baby food?
Let baby explore and make a mess?
Teach manners now, how to hold a spoon!
Slap those hands that drop such precious food!
Don’t let mealtimes grow out of control, young mother, or you’ll be sorry!
Parenting in the youthful years
Church soup suppers,
teach gentle conversation,
reinforce simple manners,
and surround its children
with a bevy of aunties, and uncles, and cousins . . .
and grey-haired elders, long graduated from dinner time tension.
Children of all ages share the virtue of dishwashing,
servant leadership in action, with a good bit of splashing.
Have I ever thanked the village enough?
When traveling abroad
Steam rising from pressed, freshly ground beans,
gentle tinging of spoon on cup
(stirring milky substance poured not from a carton but from a creamer!)
nudge me to
Each sense engaged, wriggles
in voluptuous pleasure.
Sounds of murmured voices, the texture of grainy bread,
the repetitive, comforting simplicity
Swallow and breathe.
Rinse and repeat.
Pause for a word or two or three.
Who knew breakfast could take an hour?