What Were the Members of the Donner Party Hungry For Before They Set Out on the Trail?
And why are pizzas round, and do trees dream?
These questions keep me awake at night, as do
thoughts of decades decanted and refined in memory,
their solids discarded with no consideration of retention.
Last evening we dined at an Indianapolis restaurant
for the first time in eighteen months. My steak
was pink and juicy. Tender. The Russian River pinot
bore flavors of cherry and dried herbs, with perhaps
hints of moss-crusted sonnets and mislaid intent
underscored by regret. But tasty, reminding me
that first impressions are truly lasting, and that
I should have bailed five years into that marriage.
Would I eat human flesh? Lord knows I gnawed
on that wolf-trapped foot for years. Lately
I’ve been making rectangular pizzas, in the Detroit
style, with peppered salami, crushed San Marzano
tomatoes and Wisconsin brick cheese, but if I
were to cook myself, toughness (due to age) would be
an issue, and I’d recommend a slow braise in wine
or sake, with parsnips, carrots and minced serrano
peppers. Served over sticky rice, of course. I wonder
if the oak misses me. Though we lived together
for thirty-five years, my roots never dug deep,
but instead spread out just enough to hold on
and stay in place. Until it was time to let go.
So I ask: what does the oak think of me? Do I exist
beyond that first impression of the awkward 25-year
old, or does it recall the older one who tended
its wounds and broken limbs, who watered and fed it
poetry? My hungers have changed with age,
but I still want the same things.
* * *
Many thanks to Jilanne Hoffman for sponsoring this poem and providing the title.
If you’d like to join in on the fun, see my September 5 post for sponsorship details. Give me a title, provide some words. Or think of another challenge! It’s all for a good cause: Brick Street Poetry, Inc.
Tomorrow’s poem is titled “Scarecrow’s Wealth,” and is sponsored by Charles of Words and Feathers.